Be Grateful and Paddle Well! - Mind Body Paddle

Be Grateful and Paddle Well!

Be Grateful and Paddle Well!

In my experience, when female paddlers mess up their lines it’s not usually because of their lack of physical skill (although that can be the case too), but it’s most often due to their lack of mental preparation and focus.  After all, it’s usually our lack of confidence, doubt and fear that makes us stiff and hesitant, which leads to bad lines and trashings. I’ve read books on sports psychology that give suggestions on imagery and affirmations that can help control negative thoughts, but someone very wise recently gave me a trick that is very simple and works well.  And the best part is that it doesn’t just work for kayaking, but it’s also helpful in almost any situation that raises fear and uncertainty.

The trick is simple:  whenever you’re feeling nervous when you’re kayaking focus on how grateful you are for the skills that you do have.  It works something like this:  I’m at the top of challenging whitewater that I’m about to run, but I feel really nervous and negative chatter starts going through my head.  At this point I think:  “I’m grateful for my skills.  I’m grateful for my experience.  I’m grateful for my strength.  I’m grateful for my ability to read whitewater.”  And so on – you get the idea.  What this does is cut off the flow of negativity and doubt and focuses my attention on the positive.  Then I can proceed with the rapid filled with positive thoughts, which usually leads to positive action.

I like the ‘being grateful’ technique better than affirmations because there isn’t room for doubt when you’re being grateful. If I say:  “I am strong,” then my mind can always intervene with “but the River is stronger.”  When I say ‘I’m grateful for my strength’ then I’m showing appreciation for and recognizing all of my experiences, my skill, my teachers and perhaps even a higher power, and there isn’t much room for doubt in that.  And being appreciative, for me, produces a feeling of wellbeing that has a calming effect.  It’s also very motivational and inspiring.

I suggest that you try it and see how it works. It may help keep your positive juju flowing. Even if you think this sounds a bit ‘airy-fairy’ I challenge you to try it at least once if you have difficulty staying confident on the river.  After all, there’s nothing ‘airy-fairy’ about acing a sick line on a challenging rapid!

From the blog

Hard moves in easy water for a powerful mindset

You may think you know what practicing hard moves in easy water means, and I bet you don’t think of it as paddling the Narrows of the Green (a Class IV-V section). Earlier this month I paddled into the Narrows of the Green to watch Green Race. For those of you unfamiliar with the race,

Read More »

Boundaries for a powerful mindset

The rapids you love exist because of the boundaries of the river banks. Those boundaries create a container in which the water flows powerfully. If you want a powerful mindset, you want to create your own river banks that empower you to feel confident, live and paddle at your best. What happens when you don’t

Read More »

5 sleep habits that lead to a powerful mindset

Do you struggle with getting good sleep? According to the American Sleep Association, between 50 and 70 million Americans are affected by sleep disorders – so you’re not alone. When my coaching clients bring up their sleep problems, they feel resigned to having to live with feeling like crap or turning to pharmaceutical sleep aids.

Read More »

Get in touch!

Do you have a question? Would you like to connect and have a conversation or learn more about an upcoming retreat? Fill out the form below.

;