Scuba diving is such a fun and incredible sport but, can be ruined by anxiety. There are many unrealistic and realistic fears our minds cycle over and over. In this post, we will cover a few preventative steps and a few tips you can use underwater.
Most important of all, never, ever dive beyond your skill. There is no shame in aborting a dive or not going into a cave when you’re not comfortable with the circumstance.
Dive Rituals: Many of us have dive rituals and they often start the day before diving. Avoid physical stress, alcohol, have a good dinner, check over your gear to make sure everything is in good working order, and pack up your gear so it’s ready to go. Many people have a mental or physical checklist to ensure their gear is in good working order and to ensure they do not forget a piece of gear.
Dive Routine: Establishing a diving routine is a game changer. Naturally, as you learn and grow as a diver, your routine will inevitably change. Nonetheless, you and only you are always responsible for your own gear. Practice routines that work for you and your personal needs. Establish a routine for packing your gear, how you put your gear on, and how you check your gear.
Practice your skills: Getting in open water or even a pool to practice your skills or try new gear out before you go diving in open water will make a world of difference. One who is confident and competent with their skills and gear will have a greater peace of mind.
Communication: It is essential for you to communicate as much as possible on surface. That means expressing any and all questions or concerns you might have for your dive buddy, guide, instructor, and yourself. If you have anxieties on surface, they have the potential to build and follow underwater. Personally, having a guide that can give a great, detailed briefing helps me visualize the dive.
Tips To Deal When Anxiety Hits Underwater
Breathe: Stop what you’re doing and concentrate on breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly.
Analyze: Talk yourself through it so you can figure out the cause. Is it gear related? If so, how can it be fixed? Is it situational? Are you uncomfortable in small spaces? It’s okay to avoid exploring caves if they make you uncomfortable. If you have a health issue such as your ears, make sure your dive buddy and guide are aware of that. Being underwater, we can’t yell across the ocean floor. So, it’s important for people to be aware so they can make sure to check on you more often.
Contact: Often, the simple act of observing another diver or making eye contact with another diver can be calming. This is where that surface communication we discussed comes back into play. Sharing your stressors and solutions with your dive buddy, guide, and instructor are extremely important when you’re underwater.
Click here to read about my personal Scuba Diving Anxiety experience.
It is my hope that you found this post helpful in someway.
Wishing you happy and anxiety free scuba diving.
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