Posted on May 15, 2020 by Grace Robinson
Stress is a fact of life — even without the recent turmoil caused by the pandemic. While the health crisis has undoubtedly increased stress levels across the world, it’s safe to say that there’s a good chunk of us always on the lookout for “ways to relieve stress.”
There are certainly many things that can contribute to stress: work, status, success… but let’s not get too detailed on all of that. We’re here to escape the stressors of everyday life, after all. So where do we go to do that?
The water, of course.
Our bias may be real on this one, but paddle boarding is truly a fantastic way to relieve stress. There are a number of coping mechanisms out there of suggested stress relievers, and (not surprisingly) you’ll find that hitting the water with your favorite SUP falls in line with these tactics in more ways than one.
We’re going to hazard a guess and say that exercise as a stress reliever is common knowledge at this point. In fact, Healthine cites exercise as one of our most important tools to deconstruct stress. So suggesting paddle boarding as a stress relief on account of its exercise benefits is a no brainer.
SUP is no ordinary trip to the gym. It is a full body workout, in nature, on the water, releasing endorphins. Oh, and did we mention soaking up all that natural vitamin D from the sun? Wins on wins.
A simplified lesson on endorphins — these beautiful brain chemicals act as “natural painkillers” and are released during physical activity. They can lead to a mood lift, reduce pain and increase pleasure, and even contribute to better sleep. Aka, endorphins are a natural stress relief.
When long to-do lists and complex problems start to stack up, it’s not uncommon to shut down under the weight of combined pressures or even the thought of a single issue that is challenging to solve.
Much in the same way that all the tiny successes of completing one step at a time before looking onto the next can help you build the momentum needed to push a project through to the end, accomplishing the challenge of paddle boarding will fill you with a real sense of self satisfaction.
That sense of accomplishment and connecting with yourself in a state of achievement, escaping from negative self doubt, will lend a buoyancy to your state of mind that you’ll enjoy on and off the water. Knowing that you have the capability to approach and overcome a challenge such as SUP will help equip you with the confidence needed to conquer other issues at hand.
In a very practical way, SUP demands self awareness. You need to know where and how to position your feet on the board. You need to understand the best paddle grip in order to steer your ship. You need to know how to engage your core to provide stability and power when on the move.
By concentrating on connecting these muscles and movements in your body, you can also align your breath with your exercise. As you balance all of these physical elements to stay afloat, you’ll most likely be more in touch with yourself than you have been all day.
Focusing your energy on being aware of your body and how you move with the water is a natural and healthy way to relieve stress because you’re effectively avoiding the negative thoughts running circles in your mind.
Ok, hear us out on this one. While you’re on the board, connecting with your own inner balance and learning the rhythm of the water and how to flow with it, what are you doing? You’re literally balancing yourself with creation. You have to in order to stay on the board…
But beyond that, we’ve found that time and again riders awaken within themselves a deeper awareness of nature and it’s immensity when on the board. Whether you’re floating on still waters with an empty mind or paddling through the current, it’s hard not to spend time on a SUP and not come out of it with a greater respect for the sheer size and power of nature.
This humbling experience of being aware of the vast expanse of nature out there and the forces operating at a power much greater than a single person could ever possibly attain stirs an awe within us that settles in peace and amazement. It takes us outside of ourselves and pushes us to think beyond all of the personal bothers and stressors of our lives.
Family to friends to coworkers, paddleboarding can just as easily be a community activity as it can be a solo experience. Timely tip: yes, you can paddle board 6 feet apart.
Spending intentional time with people who are important in your life is a great way to relieve stress. Not only does the reminder that you have a support network do wonderful things for your peace of mind, simply being surrounded by positive vibes provides a sense of ease.
Together, your crew can paddle through the water and soak up the sun. You may also find the opportunity to strike up a meaningful conversation (maybe about what’s stressing you out) in a space removed from the pressures associated with your typical setting.
We wholeheartedly believe that paddle boarding offers one of the most accessible, immediate and direct paths to achieving a healthier, calmer and more fulfilling life.
Maybe attaining a completely stress free existence isn’t in your near future. However, we’re here to support you in finding the little activities and life hacks to help relieve stress one stroke at a time.
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