Why Surfing and Mindfulness
Activity in the presence of nature improves both mental and physical health, reducing stress, improving attention capacity, mood, and general well being.
Surfing produces a powerful rush of neurochemicals associated with happiness and well-being, including oxytocin, endorphins, and dopamine. This rush of chemicals aids in the reduction of stress and the enhancement of attention capacity and mood.
Lessons learned in the water become skills for increasing emotional intelligence. The challenges of surfing mirror many of the challenges and stressors we face in relationships and in daily life.
Surfing combined with mindfulness can increase the effectiveness of both practices. Surfing itself is a form of everyday mindfulness. It demands attention to the present moment. Missing the perfect wave or getting pounded by an incoming set is strong incentive to maintain focus.
Surfing provides a pathway into a culture based around physical activity and nature.
Our level of happiness significantly increases when pursuing personal goals through meaningful activities such as sport, and spiritual practice. Surfing can be both.
For many, surfing goes beyond sport and often leads to a more fulfilling, uplifting, and meaningful life. Surfing is an ideal practice for supporting long-term mental and physical health.
Surfing isn’t easy. A surfer can spend a lifetime improving their skills and seeking ever more challenging waves. It can hook participants for the long haul.
It’s good for the brain. According to a recent Harvard University study, after only eight weeks of mindfulness practice, participants show growth in regions of the brain associated with awareness, introspection, improved memory, emotional regulation, and compassion.
Through repeated exposure to mindfulness practice, participants form alternative responses to situations that lead to stress, leading to an increased ability to make rational decisions and come up with creative solutions.
Mindfulness practice creates a space between the things we experience and our emotional reactions to them. Whether surfing, sitting, or in everyday life, participants develop the ability to observe their mental processes with a healthy degree of emotional detachment.
It changes how our minds work, shifting us away from processing reality in relation to past memories and experiences, and towards a mode of awareness rooted in the present moment.