I believe that fear only exists in our imagination, and you can overcome the fear of heights while transforming the way of feeling it into positive energy. It’s a long process that requires acceptance, patience, endurance, courage and love for yourself. Have you heard of the saying:
“Do something that scares you once a day.”
I know it’s easier said than done, and I have adjusted this to my own personal experience. To overcome my fear of heights, I created one year-plan.
Every year, I choose an outdoor adventure that scares me to help me eliminate my lifelong fear of heights. And my goal is to eliminate it for good.
I love nature and being active in the outdoors. That’s why I fell in love with Australia. I love hiking and walking, but I also like to have a bit of adventure.
I would love to go rock climbing, abseiling and do many outdoor activities that imply being active up there in the heights. Nature stimulates my creativity, inspires me to discover new things and recharges me with positive energy. So it’s very much part of my life.
Last year, I decided to join a canyoning adventure in my backyards, the Italian Dolomites. I jumped into water holes from 5 meters height and abseiled down from steep rocks. It was a success that went beyond my expectations.
This year I chose to get out of my comfort zone while travelling North Tropical Queensland by going on a Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour in the Daintree Rainforest of Cape Tribulation, near Cairns.
Why a Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour
When I first heard about this Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour, I thought, “how cool,” and the second thought was, “how am I going to do that“.
The idea of jumping and swinging at high speed through the forest gave me goosebumps.
My mind was telling me, “you are not going to make it”. At the same time, my heart was telling me, “but I want to do that”.
It took me a couple of weeks to come to terms with my busy mind chatter, and finally, I decided to arrange my booking. Finally, my heart won over the tangled thoughts of my mind.
How I felt while jumping and surfing in the forest
We first had to climb up to a hill in the dense rainforest. Once we were kitted out, we were divided into pairs. This is how you are going to swing. By walking fast into the rat race, we produced power energy that lifted each pair onto the first platform. The start was good fun. And we enjoyed the crew guys performance too.
Manage your Fear of heights – Focus on critical things
I need to focus on the critical part of the adventure. For Jungle Surfing, it was the start. You need to bend as if you were sitting down and let yourself fall, with a swing, into the void.
For a fraction of a second, I had the impression my heart had stopped beating.
Once I overcame that paralysing feeling, I closed my eyes and let myself swing through the forest. And you swing with full speed. YAY.
The third platform is the longest and most exciting stretch, you swing for about 80 meters, and about halfway, you stop for 30 secs while hanging over onto the creek.
It’s where I first opened my eyes and said to self “how wonderful is all this around me“.
Why becoming aware of your emotions is crucial.
Do not listen to what people say to you while you are doing something that scares you.
You are putting your heart and your soul into it. If they don’t share your deepest fears, they unlikely to know what being scared of heights is all about, and their comments are not going to help you.
Just listen to your feelings and accept how terrible you feel. Ultimately there is nothing bad in it—nothing to feel ashamed of. If you feel dizzy, your heart seems to stop beating, or you get a breakneck pulse, don’t panic. Smile at it and embrace it.
Be good to yourself. Know how far you can go…
Platform number 6. The last one. Swing upsidedown. When I got to know we were supposed to swing upsidedown, I started getting nervous.
While the crew guy started teasing me, I was firm on my decision and politely declined the offer of swinging upside down.
I told him that I am so thankful I have come here and have done this today. You don’t know what this means to me. Next time I will be ready to take up a new challenge and step out of my comfort zone a little bit further.
For today this is enough. I’ve been brave enough, and I’ll always be enough, but for today my mission is completed.
I know there will be many more outodoor adventures in the future that will help me work towards eliminating my fear of heights. One after the other, I will welcome them all and treasure them. And hopefully, I will succeed and eliminate my fear of heights for good.
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First published in 2018, last updated in 2021
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