It’s a beautiful sunny and warm day at the beach. You are with friends and enjoying yourself. All of you decide to take a swim in the ocean. Running excitedly towards the water you run through the shallow water and dive into the surf. The water is warm and you begin to swim towards deeper waters hoping to catch a large wave. Suddenly you feel as though the water is swarming around you and swallowing you up. You attempt to swim on top of a wave and the ocean feels as though it’s pulling you with much force. You begin to struggle and PANIC sets in.
Have you ever suffered through this frightening experience? Did you know what to do? Did you survive? Of course, you did because you’re reading this post. Let’s move on…
The National Weather Service offers these tips to survive a riptide current:
- Don’t fight the current.
- Relax and float to conserve energy.
- Stay calm and don’t panic.
- Do not try to swim directly into shore.
- Swim parallel to the shoreline.
- When you’re free from the current, swim at an angle away from the shoreline.
- And finally, slowly make your way back to the beach.
Is this a post about educating you about how to survive a riptide? No, not really. However, I want to talk about the riptides in your life using the steps above.
Just as these seemingly dangerous and unpredictable currents can occur during your trips to the beach, so can they happen in your personal life. We all face unexpected events and circumstances with little to no warning. Our anxiety levels increase and panic often strikes.
How Can You Manage the Riptides in Your Life?
You can use the steps listed above:
- “Don’t fight the current.” Often times when these unpredictable situations occur, your only choice is to not fight it. It is impossible to control everything in your environment. This step is all about acceptance. You don’t have to like it, but you are going to have to face it. Obviously, you can’t ignore it either. So, try to accept your current situation.
- “Relax and float to conserve energy.” As I have mentioned in previous posts, there aren’t any awards given as your life is not a competition. As the definition of float implies, you need to drift on or through your situation. The more you fight, the more energy you lose. The best choice is to relax so you may think clearly and choose wisely.
- “Stay calm and don’t panic.” When you are suddenly faced with a difficult situation or circumstance, it is your body’s natural response to experience a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. Your heart races, your palms get sweaty and your pulse quickens. This is not an ideal way to cope. Remember to stay calm and breathe. Nothing can be resolved or decided when you are feeling this way.
- “Do not try to swim directly to shore.” If you are facing an unexpected obstacle, you aren’t going to make any progress by trying the same thing over and over again. Sometimes you have to NOT go back to where you were, but try to look towards another path or direction. You have to accept the fact that some obstacles can’t be traversed.
- “Swim parallel to the shoreline.” Don’t give up! This is the key to handling the riptides. Don’t let what is happening completely swallow you up and derail you. In order to keep yourself from sinking or getting too tired, you have to just stay the present course. Stay where you are without losing a step until you are able to figure out where to go next.
- “When you’re free from the current, swim at an angle away from the shoreline.” Once you have completed all the steps above and you are able to see a different path or direction, take it! You don’t need to take huge leaps and bounds. The saying, “slow and steady wins the race,” is very valid in your current situation. Slowly move away from the obstacle you are facing with an eye towards where you wish to return.
- “And finally, slowly make your way back to the shoreline.” You have remained calm and didn’t panic. You have conserved your energy by accepting your situation. You now have a much clearer view of where to go. Now, move forward. Be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished.
You can survive your riptide! And you will!
As with anything in life, practice makes perfect. Try to remember these steps when handling those unforeseen obstacles and circumstances in your life. Don’t forget to have faith in your ability and embrace the courage you have to handle what life throws at you!
If I can, you can! I believe in you! You can do it!