Surfing

“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave”
-Paul Walker

                  If you have ever surfed, (and enjoyed it), you would know that this quote by Walker could not be more accurate. When you’re out there in the middle of the ocean, you have a different state of mind. Despite the fact that there could be a giant shark beneath you, you must block out that possibility and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll never be able to find peace while surfing. You have to allow yourself to let your mind go (to an extent), and just absorb yourself into the moment. When people say surfing clears the mind, they’re not lying. For me, it instantly washes away the stress and negative thoughts and allows me to stay tranquil. The calm rhythm of the waves passing underneath my board relaxes me, and if there was no such thing as nighttime, I would be out on a board forever.

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“I surf because it keeps my life at an even keel, without it I would tip into the oblivion.”

– Andy Irons.

Me surfing for the first time in the Outer Banks last year. I've been hooked ever since.

Me surfing for the first time in the Outer Banks last year. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Surfing is used very often as a form of “therapy” for kids with disabilities. This article on autism explains how an amazing program called “Surfers Healing” helps over 2,000 autistic children a year to focus, overcome their fears, decrease anxiety, and much more through surfing.  This one paragraph of one of the parents of a child attending the camp stood out to me:

“My son was screaming. He did not want to go into that ocean. He did not want to go with the surfer, and I was sobbing,” she said. “I was frightened for my son to see him crying.” Alex’s mood did not change as he and the surfer paddled out over the waves to a spot beyond the breakers, where the water was placid. They sat there for about 10 minutes and Alex showed he was no longer scared. “We saw them paddling in and they were about to catch the wave. I saw my son’s face and he was smiling and he was excited. He was happy,” Shanea Acebal said. “When they came on the shore, he was calm, he was focused. Throughout the entire afternoon, he just sat still, which is very rare for a child with autism.”

Another article I found uses surfing to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s really interesting and further proves the healing powers that surfing has on both the mind and body.

When it comes to big wave surfing (for the very experienced surfers), it is extremely important that they remain calm at all times, no matter how easy it is to panic and freak out. Surfer Mark Healy gives his input on big wave surfing:

“When it comes to holding my breath in big waves, I think there are three factors involved: lung capacity, cardiovascular fitness, and staying calm. All three are important, but the most important one for me is being in a strong mental state and staying calm.”

Makayla and I waiting for a set in Rhode Island this past summer.

Makayla and I waiting for a set in Rhode Island this past summer.

Sources:

http://www.surfertoday.com/

http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/health–fitness-heavywater-training–how-to-hold-your-breath-and-stay-calm-in-big-surf_41805/

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Calming Scents

Believe it or not, there are many scents that contribute to a calm state of being, and help de-stress your system. After a long day, all you want to do is curl up in blankets and relax. You can help to further your relaxation by surrounding yourself with certain scents. Also, the more natural the scent, the more beneficial it will be for you. Many scents (lotions, candles, etc) have added chemicals inside that can harm your body.

One of my favorite scents, coconut, has not only a tendency to calm you down, but according to scientific research, it also slows your heart rate and reduces your blood pressure.  For me, the coconut scent reminds me of summer and the ocean so that in itself makes me feel relaxed. I typically burn coconut candles in my room, which keeps it smelling good all the time, and it instantly makes me feel more comfortable and calm. It is by far my favorite scent 🙂

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Floral scents, such as rose, jasmine, geranium, and lotus, are very useful when it comes to de-stressing. The spleen, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the body part that is the most affected by stress (each major organs corresponds to a scent), so by surrounding yourself with floral scents you are targeting the spleen and reducing your stress level.

Lavender is a very common scent that is used by many people. Lavender, actually, is used best just before sleep. I have come across many sprays that you can spray on your pillow before you head to bed, that  help calm you down and allow you to sleep easier. I have one that I use frequently, typically if I have a stressful day, and it’s calming to know that with each breath I take i’m filled with a refreshing and cooling scent of lavender, and I do believe it helps me fall asleep faster. Lavender has also proven to treat sore muscles, breathing problems, and hair care. By having lavender on my pillow at night i’m not only helping myself de-stress but I am providing my body with other benefits as well!

You probably know that drinking tea is good for your digestive system and soothing anxiety, but it might surprise you that just the smell of Chamomile tea is “good on its own for inducing a calm state” (Richard Lobbenburg). Chamomile is known to reduce cortisol levels, which are the levels that rise when you are in a stressful situation. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and it will help reduce some of the pain that might be causing you stress. I personally try to drink a cup of tea every night, and if it’s late at night, I drink chamomile tea rather than other kinds, because it is one of the most calming and is beneficial before I go to sleep.

Lastly, sandalwood is said to be the “King of Calm”. It has long been used to assist with meditation. It has a warm, woody scent, and has been used in Traditional Chinese medicines for disorders associated with the nervous system, depression, and anxiety. Not only that, but it is great for your skin, so when used in body lotion or shampoo, it provides your body with extra benefits! If you love more “nature-y” scents, this is definitely the one for you.

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Souces:

http://img0.etsystatic.com/013/0/5871900/il_340x270.431235240_k7ya.jpg

http://yellowgazeboclinic.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/5-calming-scents/

http://www.westshorewellness.com/paraffin%20Plus%20Body%20Glaze.jpg

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