Rock Climbing Boosts Confidence in Depressed Young AdultsJanuary 28, 2020
Many young adults who struggle with depression lose interest in activities they used to enjoy and have trouble feeling a sense of accomplishment when they try new things. This often contributes to low self-esteem and risk-aversion, which make it harder for young adults to leave their comfort zone. While depression can be a barrier to sparking interest in different physical activities, participating in adventure activities, like rock climbing, can help boost confidence in depressed young adults.
How Does Rock Climbing Help Depressed Young Adults?
In a recent study conducted by University of Arizona looked into the possible benefits of rock climbing therapy. The researchers discovered that bouldering–a type of rock climbing that involves climbing on boulders and other small formations that aren’t far off the ground, meaning no ropes are required–had the ability to decrease stress and improve symptoms of depression.
In the study, participants would partake in 3 hours a week of bouldering over 8 weeks. They found that depression decreased substantially. The researchers believe that this is because bouldering offers a feeling of “immediate accomplishment” which gives you more confidence and releases “feel-good” hormones. The social aspect of bouldering also increases feelings of connection.
They concluded that adventure activities, such as bouldering, can act as an effective intervention for young adults struggling with depression. One of the main benefits of engaging in physical activities that involve a degree of risk is that individuals have to stay focused and in the moment in order to be safe. For depressed young adults, ruminating over negative thoughts reinforces feelings of depression, so participating in adventure activities serves as an effective distraction from those thoughts and helps break the cycle.
Why We Offer Adventure Activities at Trails Momentum
Despite climbing’s genuine social and self-regulatory benefits, starting any new activity can seem daunting at first, particularly for people struggling with depression. Young adults often struggle to take the initiative to participate in activities without the support of a group or a structured opportunity. Wilderness programs help depressed young adults get out of their comfort zones by introducing them to a variety of therapeutic adventure activities.
“We’ve found that rock climbing is an empowering activity for a wide range of young adults. Students diagnosed with anxiety have found climbing to be a safe place to challenge themselves with support,” reports Sarah Parlier, director of student development for Trails Momentum. “Students on the autism spectrum are challenged to move beyond fixed and rigid thinking patterns in order to accomplish a goal. Students who have perfectionistic tendencies are forced to confront and move through failure.”
Once every two weeks, Trails Momentum students get the chance to test themselves indoors — on the walls at a local climbing gym, Brevard Rock Gym. The experiences that these adventure activities offer carry many metaphors applicable to life and help young adults transfer these skills to different settings once they leave the program.
Trails Momentum Can Help
Trails Momentum is a wilderness therapy program for teens and young adults ages 18-25 to transition to independence and improved self-awareness. The program uses adventure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a strength-based approach. It is a small and nurturing community that focuses on goals of improved self-regulation and overall functioning for the young adults. Trails Momentum gives students the skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 877-296-8711 for more information about adventure therapy.