I have always found a certain peace in throwing something.
At school it was a rugby ball or a javelin, at university it was darts or a frisbee, and as a young adult it was skimming stones and scrunched up paper at work.
And who doesn’t love the gentle arc of a well-made paper plane?
As the father of two kids, teaching them to throw and catch has been one of my greatest delights.
I now go out into the garden every day with my netball-mad Goal Shooter daughter and see her experience the same pleasure.
When you throw, you give an object some energy and send it on a journey.
You hope that it will travel where you intended it to, but the interesting thing is that every single throw is ever so slightly different.
You never quite know how it will turn out.
Sometimes you will swish the netball silently through the hoop and sometimes you will clatter it in off the ring. Sometimes you will miss entirely (this applies to me more than Lizzie).
Minute variations of angle and effort mean that is impossible to perfect your throwing technique, and that is maybe what makes throwing so addictive.
You always want to repeat that perfect throw, but you know that you are highly unlikely to do it a few times in a row.
So, what does throwing have to do with clearing your mind?
Well, when I have something worrying me, I find that losing myself in the process of trying to shoot 10/10 netball goals is incredibly therapeutic.
By concentrating on the physical and mental demands of swishing a netball shot, somehow all other thoughts fade into the background.
They are not gone forever, but they are relegated for long enough to regain a sense of perspective.
We all have different techniques for clearing our minds, but for me, the action of throwing away the frustrations and concerns is somehow poetic.
If you are a job seeker with a million-and-one possibilities running through your head, finding a way to calm your mind is so important.
You might go for a run, lose yourself in a film or take a walk with the dog. All of these things are great for changing the record, but for me nothing beats the release that is offered by throwing something at a target.
Over and over again.
I write about mental health issues a fair bit, and I will continue to do so. I don’t have too much time to read as much as I would like on the subject, but I can say one thing for sure – it is important to find a way to release your negative energy and thoughts before you can focus on a more positive way forward.
For me, throwing a netball or a paper plane achieves exactly that.