Lifeguarding and Stress

Image by Ned Horton

Scanning. Watching. Predicting. Requesting. Averting. Stopping. Saving. Sitting in that elevated lifeguard stand or circulating around the pool deck, I was literally and figuratively "on guard". I took my role as a lifeguard seriously, with eyes constantly scanning the water and the pool deck, looking for and preventing accidents.

I'm proud to say that on my watch no accidents occurred. There once could have been an accident of another nature, if I hadn't informed the amorous couple that the reason we sit on the lifeguard stand is so that we can see what goes on in the pool!

Now that I know what I do about stress, I realize that what was good for the pool patrons in regard to safety was not that great for me. I was constantly "on", looking for potential hot spots and running through scenarios of what to do, should a rescue be required. The two branches of my nervous system were out of balance.

There is a significant difference in learning to operate from a balanced state. If I had the stress techniques then that I now have, my performance would have been enhanced. Not only would my intuition be sharper, but I would be conserving energy for if or when it's needed.

Stress wears out the nervous system - think of stepping on the gas and brake at the same time; it leaves you drowning in a myriad of negative thoughts and emotions, which over time, can contribute to a number of medical conditions. If you have a medical condition, ask your doctor if stress adversely affects it.

As I've stated many times, I am my own best client. I am now able to recognize how it feels when I'm immersed in that flood of fourteen hundred chemicals. I know that by shifting to the heart with some simple techniques that can be done anywhere - even on the pool deck - I have learned to turn off the flood of stress hormones.

With hindsight, my self-talk would have been different, too. That draining running commentary could have included phrases such as "I'm well-trained," "I'm a strong swimmer," and "The other guards are also skilled; together, we form a strong team."

Are you able to recognize what it feels like when your system is flooded with stress hormones? Do you know how to get out of those dangerous currents? Are you immersed in self-talk that is helpful or is it harmful? Do you need help from a lifeguard?

I may no longer be sitting on that lifeguard stand, but I am still helping to guard lives by teaching you stress transformation skills. Once a lifeguard, always a lifeguard!

2 Replies to “Lifeguarding and Stress”

  1. You’re your own best client lol!. The idea of having a lifeguard is very comforting, and with that feeling in addition to positive self talk you could reduce stress and feelings of unworthiness. It’s harder to know what to do when you are young. And so many kids are only told how much better they could be doing. It’s hard to hear only that and no positive feedback


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