Diving is a great way to see our world’s beautiful oceans up-close. Diving truly is an unparalleled experience, allowing you to interact with sea life and take amazing pictures like no other. However, despite the safety precautions put in place to prevent accidents from happening, some first-timers may still be a little nervous.
Even experienced divers can be nervous of equipment malfunctioning or of possible accidents, so don’t worry. Here are some tips on how to deal with any anxiety while underwater:
Signs of Anxiety Attack
If you ever feel yourself experiencing one of the following symptoms, then take a deep breath, relax, and calmly seek out the help of another diver. Some of the key signs of a panic attack include:
- The feeling that you aren’t getting enough air or rapid breathing
- Headache or muscle tremors
- Palpitations or rapid heart beat
- Feeling out of control, sweating or chills/hot flashes
- Inability to speak or trembling voice
Ways to Manage Anxiety
Exercise. Exercise is a great way to prevent an anxiety attack because it will make you physically and mentally prepared for the stress of an underwater dive, especially if this is your first time diving.
Enter the Water Slowly. Accustom yourself to your environment before entering the water and then make your descent slowly. This will help with any unforeseen circumstances or drastic temperature changes. You may even want to stop a couple times during the descent.
Practice. The simplest way to overcome a fear is to expose yourself to it gradually. In terms of diving, this means rehearsing the basic skills, planning for any emergencies, always remembering ‘SBTA’ (stop-breathe-think-act), come preparing with the proper equipment and listening to your instincts along with planning your pauses at every main transition. It can also be very helpful to join a diving club.
Avoid Overload. Try not to overload your tasks by stabilizing your ears before entering into the water and again when you get on the surface. If you need to, secure your weight belt on the surface itself and right after submerging clear your mask. Doing all this will let you concentrate on your descent and maintain your balance.
Know Your Limits. Only you know what is within the range of your comfort zone. Also, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t force yourself to dive. Prioritize your well-being over fun and excitement.
Stop. If you experience any distress, stop your descent immediately and perform clear your mind, do some breathing techniques, etc
Anxiety is manageable if you know how to control it, and don’t get discouraged if you feel nervous during a dive. Almost everyone at some point in their time diving will experience anxiety, so just remember to stay calm.
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