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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 July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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