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4 Tips for Overcoming Fear from a Surfer Who Nearly Drowned

4 Tips for Overcoming Fear from a Surfer Who Nearly Drowned

Fear of failure is an emotion that affects everyone. Whether you’re a business owner who worries about how your operation will survive in a changing economy, or just someone in love who agonizes over the thought of having your heart broken.

If you’re a big wave surfer like Greg Long, you fear the unthinkable. And the unthinkable happened on December 21, 2012.

On that fateful day, he and several other surfers were facing some monstrous waves at the Cortes Bank, an underwater seamount 100 miles off the coast of California. Greg wiped out and endured a three-wave hold-down before his body was pulled, unconscious, from the water and carried back to the boat by the team’s rescue crew.

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Greg survived to share his story of what was essentially a non-fatal drowning. He even managed to overcome his fears and insecurities and get back in the saddle, or—in this case—back on the board, but it wasn’t easy.

It took some soul searching, some changes in perspective, and about a full year before Greg was finally able to shake his doubts and surf again with the same confidence he once had. Here are a few of the pointers he shares as he looks back at his road to mental recovery.

Control what variables you can and forget about the rest.

In surfing, as well as in life, there are elements you can control and there are those you cannot. Greg’s advice to anyone dealing with fear or anxiety is to only spend your time focusing on that first category.

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In Greg’s case, for every hour he spent surfing, he spent many more preparing and training (both mentally and physically) and making sure his equipment was in good working order. He knew the wipeout would come. His job was to work as hard as he could so that, when it did, he could be confident in knowing he was prepared for it.

Know that there are other possible outcomes, and they aren’t all bad.

A large part of Greg’s fear stemmed from the fact that, for too long, his entire life had revolved around surfing. It was all he knew and the only life he had ever imagined for himself. When something consumes that much of your awareness, then the thought of losing it is devastating.

Almost losing his life caused Greg to reevaluate his priorities and what he was living for. After a while, he realized that, while he still loved to surf and wanted to continue doing it, his true happiness was found once he struck a better balance that incorporated things like spending time with friends and family and pursuing other hobbies and interests.

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But don’t question.

Accepting the fact that there may be other possible outcomes is good. Constantly questioning why certain things happen is bad. No matter what life throws at you, know that it’s for a reason. Work towards finding a solution to adapt to your new circumstances and move on.

Greg never questioned why he suffered such a horrific accident or adopted a “why me?” mentality. Instead, he accepted his new reality and sought to figure out exactly what he was meant to learn from it.

Be grateful for your circumstances, no matter what.

It may sound strange to think about being grateful for tragedy or failure or heartache. But that’s exactly what Greg did after his near-fatal accident. He was keenly aware of the fact that he had no control over the obstacles he was facing. He only had control over himself and how he tackled them.

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Greg knew that it wasn’t those outside factors that contributed to his happiness. His happiness came from within. Greg made a conscious decision to embrace his new circumstances, and the result left him happier than he ever was when his life was consumed by surfing.

With these tips, anyone can begin making strides towards overcoming their fears of the uncertain or unknown. Change is inevitable. Hardship is possible. But behind it is a lesson to be learned and a new future that awaits you.

Featured photo credit: surfing-926822_1920/StockSnap via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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