Welcome to life in 2018. Being constantly connected can be exhausting.
Facebook this, Instagram that. “No Likes?! What! It’s been 10 minutes I should have a ton of likes by now.”
Social media and internet anxiety is a real thing. The way we rely on our phones, tablets and inboxes for recognition can do some serious harm to your concentration as well as your self-esteem.
Scrolling through countless newsfeeds, searching for who knows what, expecting some big break when we reach 1000 followers, then nothing happens. The sheer thrill of knowing something could happen is what keeps us gripped.
It’s pathetic really, but it is a way of life now and as always it’s more about changing with the times and finding a balance or your Zen in this myriad of chaotic connectivity.
“The measure of intelligence is your ability to change” – Einstein
To find your Zen or to gain control in our busy, high-paced lifestyles, we all need to be mindful.
What does it mean to be mindful?
Mindfulness is the practice of enjoying a moment for what it is, and completely immersing your mind, body and soul in that moment.
Ok, this may be sounding a bit wishy-washy for some of you but give it a go.
Next time you go for a coffee, enjoy the coffee. Don’t Instagram it, rate it or share it. Just leave the phone and enjoy the coffee, the taste, smell and sounds around you in the coffee shop.
That is being mindful.
If you suffer from a bit of social anxiety and sitting in public being mindful isn’t quite your, well cup of tea, then that’s fine too.
Take up surfing.
If you already surf then you’ll understand.
“Only a surfer knows the feeling” – Billabong
The feeling of being alone, yet together. A feeling of absolute calmness, shared respect for yourself and the ocean, a feeling of floating but being grounded.
No phone, no wifi hotspot and no photo op.
Just you, your board and the ocean. It is freedom and focus at one time, a meditation style which looks really dope when you master it.
How can surfing help you be mindful?
Not convinced that surfing will clear your mind and get you to that mindful place you need to be. Let’s take a look at what surfing and mindfulness have in common.
1. Focus On One Thing
When you’re out on the waves the only thing you need to think about is exactly what you’re doing.
Paddle, catch wave, ride wave, enjoy and repeat.
No emails to check and no newsfeeds to scroll. This time you make for yourself on the water is the time you have for you and your surf. Breathe in enjoy it and breathe out.
Many mindfulness trends revolve around exercise. Yoga and Pilates, for example, are both great ways to get that focus while getting the blood flowing.
Surfing, on the other hand, is a full body and mind workout. It’s you against the waves, no instructor showing you how it’s done, you create your own style.
Besides the fact that it’s on your own terms, it really is a great workout. Surfing has excellent benefits for arms and back strength, balance and core stability as well as flexibility.
No gym, yoga or cross fit can give you the same refreshing satisfaction that you achieve when you catch your first wave, turn or barrel.
To meditate or focus your mind is a very important tool and part of being mindful. It is the art of limiting distractions and taking control of your thoughts.
You can meditate anywhere you like really. When you are in the back line, floating away waiting for the next set, it’s all you. You and your thoughts. There is no better time to train your mind to focus, find calm and be mindful.
Meditation is not something that one person can do and another can’t. It is something you train yourself to do. The same applies to focusing on one thing.
We all have distractions in our daily lives, but it is up to you which ones you chose to focus your mind on.
Use the time when you surf to clear your mind, remove distractions and find calm in the chaos through surfing.
4. Connect with Nature
Want to feel more settled and grounded within yourself? The best and, yes the most cliché, way to do this is to unplug and connect with nature.
Some may roll their eyes and think there go those hippies again. In all seriousness, being in or around nature is incredibly beneficial to your mental health.
The environment and the natural world has its way of reminding us that we aren’t the only person on this planet, we are not the be all and end all of existence and neither are our problems.
Being out in the open ocean is a pure magic way to remind ourselves to stay humble and grounded.
There are no fancy cars or houses out there, no designer handbags or shoes.
Only you, your board and the ocean. The other surfers are there too, but they’re all there for the same thing. A good ride with some good vibes.*
*full cheese warning
5. Being Alone
It is always important to be comfortable with your own company, as it builds up self-esteem and independence.
To master being mindful it is important to have your time, alone time and really enjoy it. You won’t have to answer to anyone, listen to anyone or talk to anyone.
Surfing is a great sport in this sense. You can head out for a surf alone, and yet just the fact that there are other surfers around you will feel a part of something.
Surfing offers you a global community of like-minded people, and at the same time, it gives you a slice of peace and stillness when you need it most.
If you’re looking to find some calm in your chaos, surf is a front-runner for sure.
You can pull the “I don’t have time.” “I’m just too busy.” “My life is crazy already.” Excuses, but if you really want to find calm in your chaos and practice a more mindful lifestyle, then you’ll make time.
Once you’ve made that time – don’t negotiate or change it for anybody, it’s your time and yours alone.