A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of stopping by the shooting range next to my local recycling center to ask them if they had any recyclables I could help them process (gun shooting ranges aren’t exactly considered “green” by most accounts). To my surprise, there were several Eco-geeks hanging out just like me. They not only agreed to help donate their recyclable materials, but talked to me about how some firearms, firearms accessories companies and ammunition manufacturers are trying to cut down on waste.
Apparently shooting is also a big stress relief. For those of you that don’t know what shooting can do, shooting a firearm is actually seen as a form of stress relief in many states across the US. However, is this fact or just a myth? And if it is true, how exactly does firing a gun relieve stress? We address these questions and many more pertaining to firearms and stress relief in the following article.
Among shooters, many have reported that discharging a firearm at the local range gives them an opportunity to take their minds off of whatever may be plaguing them. Some shooters say that an afternoon at the range can completely calm them down and help them relax after a rough day at work or dealing with personal problems.
But are these gun advocates really scientifically experiencing stress relief, or have they simply created a bit of justification for their habits and preferences? If we examine the process of shooting a gun, it is clear to see that shooting offers many of the same aspects as other activities that are commonly referred to as stress relieving.
First of all, like many other stress relieving activities, though many of them can be done in a group setting, nearly all require severe concentration by each individual on his or her own actions. This intent focus on a target is similar to focusing on supporting the core in yoga and focusing on your target in golf. Shooting requires precise movements from muscles, also an aspect shared with other popular forms of stress relief. A key feature of shooting is that it requires slow, controlled breathing and a clear mental state for an optimal performance. This is very similar to meditative activities.
Overall, it is the exercise of a mixture of mental and physical control required in target shooting that can help individuals release tension physically, mentally, and emotionally. Focusing on something other than our problems and worries and instead directing our energies into an activity that requires intense concentration and extreme physical discipline in order to achieve a desired outcome allows us to forget, or at least temporarily put aside, those worries.
Finally, when the desired action is accomplished, this can lead to a release in endorphin output and help increase our level of happiness and self esteem. When we accomplish the task we set out to tackle, we are filled with a deep sense of satisfaction for reaching our goals and seeing our effort paid off.
Other people who have used guns, however declare that they have not felt stress relief when shooting a gun. The vast majority of these people were also concerned with the safety issues that can potentially be a factor when dealing with firearms. These individuals have also most likely not been trained on proper firearms training and security measures. We can imply for these accounts that perhaps while shootings at the range can be an excellent form of therapy, it is not suitable for everyone. It’s essential that those who want to try shooting for stress relief first learn the rules of gun safety and feel comfortable correctly handling a firearm. If this is accomplished, it is possible for shooting to be an excellent form of therapy.