Do you travel through life bottling negative emotions?

Is your job sapping the life from you?

Are your relationships diminishing and the feeling of being alone increasing?

Do you have an outlet to vent and recharge? If not, then the dreaded black dog could very well be following you looking for its new forever home.

Depression can be a debilitating affliction, one which the effects are also felt by others close to you. Take your family or loved ones, for example, they can see and feel your sadness but are at a loss to help.

Your career can suffer… you may get overlooked for job opportunities. Your confidence wains, leaving you doubting your ability and self-worth. Ruts may appear and become deeper to climb out of with every passing day, leaving you with a sense of entrapment.

If you, like me, have ever ridden a negative wave like this then you know how difficult life can be at times. The courage to commute to work can be the hardest thing to extract some days.

Having a passion, a hobby, or a place to go to when you’re in that trough can be a real lifesaver. At the very least a pressure valve for your mind. Mine was (and still is surfing). When your tank is being continually emptied, doing the thing you enjoy is soo important!

There are many words to describe surfing; exhilarating, invigorating, arousing for example. In relation to depression, I describe surfing as healing. It allowed my mind to empty itself of all negativity. Replaced with positive joy and happiness. The stresses and worries washed away with every surge of water over my body.

Surfing is not an easy sport to master though. You will need strength, stamina, courage, patience, and resilience. Usually all at the same time! A sense of achievement glows inside you each time you exit the water. Even if all you did was get through the shore break without getting a sandpaper spin cycle! You’re rebuilding your inner strength and becoming fitter at the same time; not a bad byproduct eh?

Is your day to day life draining your strength and resilience? Surfing may be an excellent way to restore your confidence and cleanse your mind and soul. If you’re unable to surf though, there are other alternatives. When I couldn’t get to the beach I also went on regular walks with my dog. My psychologist described walking as tricking the brain into thinking there is no danger or stress. You could even try meditation, Tai Chi or Yoga. There are usually local classes for free or of little cost.

Whatever you’re going through, know that it is only temporary and life is a series of waves and troughs. It’s helpful to recognise when you’re in a trough; to put your head down and paddle hard. And when to catch the wave and stand up and relax. You can enjoy the experience and ride the wave. Remember no one can paddle indefinitely, so keep looking for the next wave to catch!

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