Surfing and Happiness – they are linked!
There is definitely something in the air
It is no secret that surfing makes us happy. An estimated 23 million people across the globe wouldn’t surf if it made us sad or angry. We surf for a number of different reasons. Apart from the obvious thrill of chasing waves, there is also a scientific reason why we surf and that’s because surfing actually gets you high. The air above the water actually charges you with positive vibes, surfing and happiness are scientifically linked!
Ions – The vitamins of the sea
One of surfing’s link to happiness is to do with the sea spray and the ions released from the water after a wave crashes on the shore (or your head!). An ion is an atom or a molecule that has an imbalance of charge, with either too many electrons (negative charge) or protons (positive charge). Too many protons and the ion becomes positively charged and too many electrons and you have a negative ion. Sunlight, radiation or moving air or water can all change the electric charge of an atom or molecule and this is exactly what happens when waves break. This disruption of ions gives us surfers a little boast of vitamins, a gift from the ocean straight into our lungs.
The ocean and our happiness
No wonder we feel so alive when in the ocean, sitting by a crashing waterfall or walking in the mountains. When breathed into our lungs and absorbed by our blood stream these negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase serotonin in our bodies (the happiness chemical) that relives stress and lifts our mood. Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research best summarises their effect:
“Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy”.
It’s not just that great wave we caught that put a smile on our face, it’s also the impact of the magical air that the surf produces on our bodies. Surf and surfing makes us happy.
Get surfing. Get happy.
There is something special about watching the sunrise from your surfboard. The sense of clarity that you get and the feeling that you are just a tiny speck on a huge ocean that is breathing to its own undulating beat. That to me is one of the things about surfing that makes me happy. That’s what gets me up in the morning when I want to say tucked up in bed. They say only a surfer knows the feeling but it’s almost impossible to put your finger on that feeling. What ever feeling you get from surfing, next time you are in the water take a big deep breath because that air will charge you with positive vibes and make you alive with happiness.
Surfing and happiness – research and further reading:
Quantum Living – What are and what do negative ions do
Research Study – Negative Ions Creating Positive Vibes
The Inertia – Scientists Froth on Surf Stoke
Web MD – Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes