Surfing: a powerful tool against suicidal thoughts | Photo: Shutterstock

Are you feeling extremely down? Put on a wetsuit, grab a surfboard, and let the ocean and the waves fill your soul with positivity and liveliness.

Surfing heals. Believe it or not, surfing has already helped thousands of people, young and old, men and women, deal with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, PTSD and many other mental illnesses.

Yes, surfing can save lives. And when it comes to suicide, the ground we're stepping is slippery, tricky, and ultra sensitive.

The first myth that we need to address is "normality." Suicidal thoughts are not and will never be, in any case, normal.

If you're not feeling okay, speak out. Don't let the darkness take over you, slowly, painfully, and irreversibly.

So, every time you have thoughts, doubts, and unusual anxieties, you must share them with someone you trust, or with a doctor. They will help get back to your normal state of mind.

There are effective clinical treatments and efficient outdoor therapies that can be done to beat it.

A suicidal thought is an overwhelming pain that never goes away and becomes increasingly acute and unbearable. It drains and silences your joy of living.

It raises your negative feelings and starts denies your right to breathe. It becomes a thing of the mind and quickly turns into an emotional and even physical issue.

Surfing: waves heal and will help you overcome negative feelings | Photo: Shutterstock

Suicide: Causes and Warning Signs

Several risk factors often contribute to thoughts of suicide.

Mental health disorders like schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, but also drug abuse, HIV or cancer, bullying, sexual orientation, childhood trauma, and a family history of suicide are often the most common causes of suicidal behaviors.

However, suicidal thoughts can also appear in people that are going through troubled relationships, mourning the loss of loved ones, unemployment, physical pain, financial difficulties, etc.

Statistics tell us that men are more likely to attempt suicide - about 1.8 times more - than women. In the Western world, males die three to four times more often through suicide than do females.

Nevertheless, women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts throughout their lives.

The warning signs are relatively clear and visible. A person with suicidal thoughts is often sad, lonely, and feels hopeless, both in a private and social environment.

They also lose interest in previous activities and hobbies, change their sleeping patterns, as well as their appetite and weight.

They will start making negative comments about themselves, bringing up suicide or death in private discussions, and will give away their possessions.

External support is decisive in suicide prevention. Sometimes, only friends, family and work colleagues can stop someone from intentionally causing their own death.

Surfing: a water sport that gets everyone stoked and positive about life | Photo: Shutterstock

Evaluate Yourself And Seek Help

If you're feeling exceptionally down, share your thoughts with your best friends, close family, and a therapist or doctor.

And don't wait until it's too late. Monitor your humor, and remember that it is okay not to be okay. Ups and downs are part of life.

Suicide is not the end, as it might appear. It will affect all the people who cared about the person for many years.

Problems are always temporary and can always be fixed and solved. Suicide is permanent. Taking your own life won't solve any problem.

So, if you don't feel comfortable talking in person and need urgent help, contact your national suicide hotline.

Give Surfing a Go

Are you unsure about the power of surfing in your life? Give it a try. You won't regret it. Surfing is a powerful experience that has prevented hundreds of people from committing suicide.

Take your time in the water. Feel the elements around you. Let the salt water, the wind, the sun or the rain tell you that there's a lot to be lived.

Ride a few waves with your eyes closed and share your smile with everyone around you. Get back to the lineup, and try to catch a bigger and better wave.

Meet up with your local surfing community. Plan a surf trip, and explore uncharted waves. Embrace life and chase the wave of your dreams.

Surfers Against Suicide is one of the many non-governmental agencies that help people considering suicide as a way out or solution to their personal inner demons.

The so-called "surf stoke" has a scientific explanation. Surfers are regularly exposed to the benefits of sun and sea water.

But they are also continually stimulating their parasympathetic nervous system, the structure that controls the regular functioning of the organs, quietens the brain, and has effects on hormones that influence the mind positively.

Surfing combines the positive health effects of hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy, and balneotherapy, and promotes the release of hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, which are responsible for the feeling of well-being.

Surfers: they beat depression with more and better waves | Photo: Shutterstock

Suicide Hotlines | Contacts

USA
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Australia
Lifeline: 13 11 14

United Kingdom
Samaritans: 116 123

Canada
Crisis Services Canada: 1 833 456 4566

South Africa
SADAG: 0800 567 567

France
Suicide Écoute: 01 45 39 40 00

Portugal
SOS Voz Amiga: 800 209 899 | 213 544 545 | 912 802 669 | 963 524 660