When you feel like this surfer - about to drown in overwhelm at any second, your stress levels are at their highest point. Unless you're in control, and go on to enjoy the adrenaline rush of overcoming the huge waves of your challenge - you will make yourself feel dreadful.
You have to find ways to stop overwhelm in its tracks. Be aware of how you feel, and as soon as you feel your shoulders creeping up around your ears, and your chest tightening, bring your attention back to this moment.
Find something beautiful to focus on - such as a blue sky, or a flower. If you can't see them, close your eyes and imagine them. If you can't picture them - look online and find photos of nature that you love.
All your thoughts will continue to crowd in - don't fight them, allow them to pass by. Take slow, deep breaths and feel your stomach filling up with the oxygen you need to help clear your mind. Have your feet flat on the floor, while sitting or lying down, and know you're supported and safe.
As you breathe in through your nose to the count of 4, have your tongue touching the roof of your mouth - and smile.
Hold while comfortable - no strain - to the count of 4.
Allow your mouth to drop open, with your tongue resting on the floor of your mouth, and gently sigh out your breath for the count of 4.
Wait for the count of 4 before you take your next breath.
It will take practice for this to feel natural, and at first you might not feel able to wait before you take your next breath, but gradually you will have the reassurance that your next breath will always come. Don't force anything, take your time, and focus on your images of nature.
When you're into the pattern of counting your breaths, and you have a steady rhythm, repeat 'love, love, love' to yourself, over and over like a mantra.
This breathing exercise will slow your body down, stop your heart racing, and as you feel yourself relax enjoying beautiful pictures, you will notice your thoughts have changed.
What was all encompassing before will have receded into the background, and the longer you continue this breathing the more perspective you will find on your situation.
You can control your thoughts - and your stress - and you can cope with any wave that comes in your direction.
“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.” ~ Osho
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
"No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head." ~Terry Josephson