Mental health benefits of surfing

scritto Kim Schiffmann, in Sport, Navigare · 28-05-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Commmenti

A couple of weeks ago we already talked about the physical health benefits of surfing, now it is time to explore what surfing can do for your mind.

Stress relief

Being outside in nature and by the beach is already a huge step towards stress relief. You can enjoy the sound of the waves, the sand between your toes and maybe even watch a relaxing sunset. But then once you get in the water and start paddling out you won’t even have the time to think about all the things that stress you on land. Too much of your focus will be required to keep you in the right position in the ocean and on your board.

Clears the mind

As I already mentioned, when you surf you will mainly focus on the task at hand and not much time will be left to think about any of your troubles and doubts. On top of that you are in the water, which in itself is a great way to reset your mind. All of that combined with the mental boost that physical exercise gives you anyway is a perfect cocktail for a clearer mind.

Improved sleep quality

Anyone that has gone more than 24 hours without sleeping can confirm that your cognitive abilities start to weaken when you are overly tired and it makes is very obvious that sleep plays an essential role in our mental health. Going into the water and exercising are great ways to improve your sleep quality.


Social life

Surfing is a community and being a part of it will always give you something to talk about and expose you to a whole new group of people that have the same interest. You might meet some people that will become your new surf buddies or even make some lifelong friends. Socialising and meeting new people is proven to make you feel more confident and happier in life.

Travel

In order to surf you have to travel (unless you live right on the beach). The conditions in the ocean are not something we can control and so in order to find the right waves for you, you might have to take a drive down your local coast and explore some new beaches and towns that you otherwise would not have gone to. Also when it comes to vacation plans you might change what you are looking for once you get hooked on surfing. Your priorities might now be more focused on finding new and exciting waves and adventuring to new countries and continents that offer some surf.

Humility

There might be a reason that surfers are typically so laid back and have this “take it as it comes” attitude. When you are surfing you are playing with the elements. You need the water and the wind in order to have good waves. These are things you cannot influence and so you have to learn to literally take every wave as it comes. There is no fighting Mother Nature herself, you have to work with her if you want to have an enjoyable session. In a way you have to give up control which teaches us to be humble, modest and respectful of nature.

Achievement

In surfing you can always improve on your skills and your tricks and the way you read the ocean and every time you accomplish something you haven’t before there is a great sense of accomplishment and achievement. Those feelings help you to have a more positive outlook on life and make you happier in general.

Risk and reward

Surfing is not necessarily the safest of sports, which is not a bad thing because it takes you out of your comfort zone. Of course different surf spots vary in danger and you can generally stick to breaks that you feel more confident in. Nevertheless you are always taking the risk to fall off your board and get thrown around in the water for a couple of seconds whenever you are trying to catch a wave. The more you had to overcome your fear and the more you risk, the bigger the reward in the end (in this case dopamine).



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