In celebration of my 27th birthday, my bf and I ventured out for some fun in the sun. He gave me two options : either take part in some action packed go karting or try out something new (and foreboding) : zip lining.
While I loved the ethereal feeling of freedom go karting left me in, it was my safe bet. I couldn’t help but take the road less traveled and opt for zip lining instead. After succumbing to my anxiety ridden state filled with frequent heart palpitations and sweaty armpits (TMI I know ), here are some important lessons I’ve learned along the way :
1. When in doubt, opt for going towards the end.
When you’re already in a heightened state of fear, it’s really hard to concentrate on what the instructor is telling you. Simple instructions such as remembering to always be latched on will manage to escape your mind, leaving you feeling dumbfounded (true story).
Which is why in this case, imitation is always the best policy. The more people you have in front of you taking part in the activity, the easier it will be for your brain to register the visual cue and understand how to go about it. I had my boyfriend go ahead of me and instruct me each and every step of the way, that way not only was I getting visual cues but verbal ones as well. Your brain on lock down mode ain’t got nothing on you.
My averse reaction towards big crowds
2. Face your fear of heights by looking at the big picture
Since I took part in some tree top obstacles, I had more than my fair share of hand eye coordination to deal with. Yet, the toughest part was the initial step of climbing up the ladder to the zip line. Anyone with a fear of heights knows looking down will leave you with a empty pit in your stomach. Once I was up in a tight space, my fear only got amplified (it didn’t help either that I saw an young child climb back down with a look of sheer terror in his eyes).
This is why it’s important to focus on the positive outcome of the situation. Think : less heights, more adrenaline filled zip line. The crying roar of elation coming from people zip lining, is what kept me going and it should be what will keep you going and hopefully hold you back from chickening out.
Experiencing adrenaline ‘Keanu Reeves’ style =goals
3. Know your limits.
The reassurance from strangers (verbal) and witnessing (visual) my bf’s elated state after riding the zip line, allowed me to conquer my fears and made me suffer from what’s otherwise known as “Amazing Race Face” (see below gif). I felt like a bad ass who was under the false illusion I could take on more than I can handle.
After facing a few obstacles along the way (aka- spinning and being pulled backwards from being a light weight ), I decided to hold back from going full throttle and opting for the more extreme zip lines (think over 100 feet up). My inner feral wild child knew better than to freak myself out by taking it it to the limit. Think baby steps and feel proud in yourself for managing to conquer your fear of heights in the first place. You can leave your Amazing Race face in times of duress when you need that extra boost in motivation 😉
Those cheeky smiles and unstoppable motivation could do more harm than good.
4. Bring deodorant
I’m not kidding here. Even if you had originally applied some beforehand (kudos for thinking ahead), chances are the combination of your anxious state and Tarzan like maneuvering will send your sweat glands in overdrive. That nervous sweat is what creates a breeding ground for bacteria to grow
. Next thing you know, your getting whiffs of BO and it’s coming from your own flesh and blood. You can blame it on your SO or the little kid all you want, but deep down you ain’t fooling nobody. Do yourself a favour and pack some trusty deodorant. You can thank me later 😉
“Girl, you got dem stinky pits!”
5. Keep a watchful eye on the prize : Your harness.
I can’t reiterate how important it is in making sure you harness is probably latched on. On a few occasions, I was about to haul myself over the zip line like an eager beaver only to realize that I wasn’t a bit loosy goosy. Not only could have I have been seriously injured but my life could have been on the line. I’m talking 40 feet up with heavy rocks below me. This is no looney tunes injury, this is some serious life or death situation. Check twice before pulling a Tarzan move and riding the line.
The reality of the situation bites, so here’s a not so dramatic reenactment from a cute panda instead
6. The children will make it or break it for you
When you go zip lining you might be surprised to see just how many children there are. These small adventurous creatures will either be your prime motivator or de motivator. You’ll witness some kids in total terror (like the kid I initially saw climbing down the ladder) or you’ll witness some with their legs flapping, bodies in a horizontal manner, cracking jokes about staying there until supper is ready. Count on seeing more of the latter to be your prime motivators in getting in conquering your fear of heights 😉
“The sky looks sunny and bright from up here !” – overly confidant 9 year old Tommy
That’s all folks 🙂
Proud Disclaimer: It took only 2 photos to master this selfie