Surfing is a very popular sport across the world and as a result, it’s becoming more accessible than ever before. Surf is generally known as a source of fun and fitness, but did you know it can be used to improve mental health? Due to growing interest in how it can benefit mental health, it is now being used as a form of therapy to help combat mental health. Within this piece, we are going to look at how surfing can be and is being used as a form of therapy and how it can help to promote happiness and wellbeing.
One reason as to why surfing can be used as a form of therapy is that it gives the patient a routine. This will give them something to look forward to and work towards and in some cases, a sense of purpose. Enjoyment is crucial within the beginning stages of a person’s road to recovery and everything from the personalisation of their own wetsuits to choosing their own board can provide an interactive element, which set this technique apart. With exercise being scientifically proven to help aid recovery in physical and mental health, it is impossible to ignore the positive effect that surfing could have on the brain. As well as a set routine every week, it allows the client to reconnect with the people around them by planning surfing trips with friends and family, allowing them to share experiences with loved ones and create positive memories.
When partaking in sports, you are using sections of your brain that you perhaps wouldn’t be using otherwise. This can prove beneficial to a patient due to promoting focus, whether it’s on the timings of the wave and the swell that they are going to catch, or the people around them. This subsequently forces the client’s attention away from damaging thoughts, and brings them into the moment. It’s healthy for your mind and body to escape an environment that is usually associated with negative things, and sometimes this can be our own mind so by and placing patients within a new environment and giving them something new to focus on, you can promote a positive escape.
Surfing gives people the opportunity to speak to likeminded people who also enjoy the sport and are away from the stresses they face at home, thus allowing them to make friends and experience new things together. This potential level of open communication is important to consider when thinking of surfing as a form of therapy – as we all know, therapy can often be all about communication. As surfing is quite a social sport, it will allow the client to meet new people and can even remote confidence in some cases. Additionally, there is room for the patient to channel their energy into competitions, which can result in giving them a valuable sense of accomplishment.
Calming Nature Of Water
In general, water is considered to be therapeutic. Due to the lack of gravity that you experience whilst in it and the calming nature of the sound of waves crashing you’ll find at the beach, simply being in the general vicinity of other surfers can prove beneficial to mental wellbeing. The sound of waves is often used within spas and relaxation apps to lower heart rate and create an overall calming atmosphere, so the real thing is likely to prove even more effective. This effect coupled with the mental stimulation of surfing allows the client to relax and feel a sense of inclusion.
Surfing can be as an addition to a therapist in order to promote wellness and allow a client to begin their journey to combating mental health. As research into this topic continues it is only a matter of time before we are integrating more sporting activities into therapy sessions to promote wellness inside and out and help more people on their journey to combatting mental health.