Having fear is an awful feeling, especially underwater. When we fear of something, it can hinder us to do things related or not related to it. For example, we may not be interested in riding a zip line if we have Acrophobia (fear of heights). Or, we may not like to look at our reflection if we have catoptrophobia (fear of mirrors). But there are people who would love to go swimming but afraid to go deep down the ocean. These are people who may have Thalassophobia (fear of the ocean) or Aquaphobia (fear of water or being near water).
Let’s talk about Aquaphobia and how to face your fear be more confident underwater. This kind of fear exists because of the following reasons: fear or drowning, bad childhood experience in swimming or sometimes, fear of what might be lurking underneath the surface. We are giving you some tips and basic steps to get you started in facing your fear and be confident underwater.
It is important that you stay calm and collected. This is applicable when facing any of your fears or any emergency situations. This can be applied to snorkeling as well. Put things into perspective so you won’t feel like you are alone. Remember that even some experienced swimmers or snorkelers also have a certain level of phobia or anxiety. So, don’t be too hard on yourself and relax before you head on to the water.
The key to getting confidence in doing anything is practice. In this case, practice breathing in shallow water without the mask on. You can stand, kneel or sit while doing this. You can try removing the mask first then breath using a snorkel. Practice breathing gradually and gently. Inhale and exhale using your mouth. If you feel the water coming into your nose, remember to breathe in your mouth and out your nose. If you don’t feel comfortable or if you feel tired, you can always get up anytime so you are in control. Practice until breathing using a snorkel becomes natural.
Another thing that causes panic while snorkeling is when your mask gets flooded with water. Perform mask-clearing drills in shallow water. If it is your first time, it is advisable to have an instructor to guide you. First, practice control in breathing that is required for mask clearing. Hold the upper portion of your mask’s frame and exhale through your nose slowly. You should see the air bubbling out from the lower portion of the mask. The air will forcefully expel the water from the mask.
It is always important to swim and snorkel in groups with a tour guide or, at least have a companion or two. Buddy-up with someone experienced enough to guide you all the way – from practice to the real deal. If you can’t find one, you may hire an instructor to teach you the basics. The most important thing is you don’t swim and snorkel alone. After all, it is more fun doing stuff with somebody, right?