“Being In The Zone” Through Surf Therapy

Many surfers can identify the brief moments of absolute commitment and determination when they are fully engaged in a wave. There is complete harmony with the ocean while time slows down and fear dissipates. There is that unrecognizable force coming from deep within that frees the mind from any shackles. Athletes call it “being in the zone” while Buddhists refer to this experience as “mindfulness.”

What is surf therapy?

The idea of surf therapy is to combine the sport with therapeutic services as an intrinsically motivating activity. Each surf therapy program takes a structured approach to surfing to heal mental and physical illnesses and to enhance the participant’s self-awareness and sense of achievement. Aside from individualized surf instructions, the surf therapy program also includes talk-based group therapy led by a mental health practitioner or informal peer support. 

Incorporating physical activity with mental health treatment is proven to have immense benefits. Aside from its benefits as a physical activity, surfing including other forms of exercise can create a sense of mindfulness. Surfing can distract an individual from things that are bothering him to achieve a shift in perspective. The individual is 100% focused on the physical activity which frees him from dwelling on anxious and depressing thoughts. 

Surf therapy is generally suggested to young people who have experienced trauma and who are suffering from autism, PTSD, and physical impairments. Ocean therapy through surfing can reduce stress and anxiety. It builds strength, balance, and confidence. The ocean is a source of healing particularly for military personnel suffering from PTSD. When they are involved in sporting activities, the military personnel enjoy a sense of comradeship with other surfers which significantly minimizes the sense of isolation. 

People who are experiencing mental health challenges often avoid mainstream services that are available to help them cope with PTSD because they do not want to be associated with the stigma. The stigma regarding mental health organizations is not unique to the military; it is a national issue that makes it difficult to reach individuals. The idea of therapy through surfing is more acceptable towards maintaining a positive health attitude. 

How to experience the flow

An individual does not have to be a surfer or a rock climber in order to experience the flow. Writers experience the flow when words seem to pour out when writing a story. Every time that an individual faces a new and demanding challenge, he switches to warrior mode called the zone. When the individual enters the zone, he maximizes his performance and reaches full potential. Achieving the flow or being in the zone is being one with the wave while surfing, with the mountain while climbing, or with the snow when skiing. The individual is entirely absorbed in the activity and worries, fears, and inhibitions are washed away. 

The recovery programme offered by Resurface UK uses surfing as its core element to develop new positive resources. The programmed provides individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, and developmental trauma with an opportunity to enjoy a new life and look forward to being in the zone.