Just you and the ocean. How very quiet | Photography by @islameraliphoto

We all have our battles in life and sometimes the thoughts in our own head feel overwhelming. Imagine if there was a natural remedy to boost our feel-good hormones. Oh wait, erm, there actually is. Surfing - the natural antidepressant with no side effects (except an addiction to the ocean).

It’s not just a sport. It’s a therapy session with Mother Nature.

Did you ever get into the water feeling like shit, but got out of the water feeling like a living ray of sunshine? That’s because surfing heals. If you want to figure out why surfing makes you feel that great – or why everyone bangs on about the post-surf glow – let’s take a little dive into surfing and mental health. 

Stress relief 

Let’s be honest: we all write on our cover letter “I can handle stress fantastically.” Deep down you know you can’t and you don’t want to. But here you are – feeling stressed about the hustle and grind from a job or just life.

If you feel there is a tiny bit of truth for you in these words, then it’s time to grab a board and paddle out. The rhythmic movement of paddling and the sound of crashing waves. The salt in your mouth and the sun on your face. The force of nature when you catch and ride waves.

This all is wiping away the mental clutter and replacing it with a calm mind.

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Long lasting friendships are formed in the line-up | Photography by @malvalorensson

Mindfulness and presence

Overthinking, overanalysing, worrying and anxiety is one sketchy road our brain loves to take. Luckily there is absolutely no time for this when you surf. You can’t worry about tomorrow's to-do list or yesterday's blunders. It’s just you and your board, working together with nature. The ever-changing ocean demands your attention.

If you want to catch a wave, there is no other way than to be fully present in the moment. Feeling the pulse of the waves around you, finding the right spot, staying calm. Being in the now is not just a philosophy when you surf, it is an amazing reality. 

I know, I know, this all sounds like hippy-dippy, dream-catchery-ness…but sometimes you have to get over yourself and admit, those hippies know a thing or two about life. Being in the moment is actually really nice.


Surfing is not only about catching waves. It’s about catching a sense of belonging. Imagine paddling out with like-minded souls. People in the water encourage you after an occasional wipeout. You spot a turtle together. You share stories about that one best surf ever. It sets you up for a special kind of bonding.

Long-lasting friendships are created in the line-up. We all need a support system in our life, right? Surfing can give you that.

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Blue Health – one of our Four Pillars of Soul Surfing – refers to the beneficial effects of being near or in water on our wellbeing.

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Wipeouts - immediate jolt into the Now. Be grateful for them! | Photography by @malvalorensson

Why is Soul & Surf such a great place to get your groove back? 

So there you go. The next time life feels like an overwhelming wave, grab a board and ride it.

Soul & Surf is a very safe and welcoming space to do so. Over the years we’ve found out that we naturally attract people that are not only here for sexy waves and good times. But also to figure some life stuff out for themselves.

This is something we have gently supported over the years - whether it’s a communal breakfast in Kerala with conversations TED-X would be jealous of, interesting soul digging workshops in Portugal or getting your groove on to some funky tunes in Sri Lanka.

You’ll have a good chance of finding your feel-good hormones back with us. 

Interested in how you can incorporate mental (and physical) health practices into your daily life? We wrote a piece on how we at Soul & Surf incorporate Blue Health practices and techniques into our Soul of Surfing syllabus - and personal lives. Read More >>