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Featured Author // June 6, 2019

How to Face your Fears in Scuba Diving

 

underwater

 

The sea holds many new experiences; these can be both wonderful and terrifying. Even more daunting can be the fears we face within ourselves in learning to dive: failure and rejection are always close when we challenge ourselves. 

But we know a lot about fear and how to face it!

“Feeling the fear and doing it anyway” 

Fear is powerful, but it is transient. It appears from nowhere and disappears when exposed. Fear feeds on doubt and uncertainty. It creates an illusion that it is bigger than it really is. For these reasons, the core principle in overcoming any fear is to face it. But be aware, sometimes fear is a justified warning bell that needs to be heeded. It may be advising you of a real threat. Or perhaps reminding you that you are not prepared, or fit, for the dive. 

Change what you do

Psychological research shows that overcoming fear is not simply about exposing yourself to the source. Getting close to fear is important. Putting yourself in the situation is essential if you want to break the grip of fear. However, to truly go beyond fear, you must change what you do when it shows up.  Instead of avoiding the fear through distraction, numbing or worry, your effort can be used to take actions that make a difference.

Build scuba skills to remove fear

Remove your fears by building scuba skills

If fear thrives on uncertainty, it withers in competence.  Competence comes from learning and practicing skills. If you know you are capable of responding the potential challenges of diving, then there is less reason to fear.  If you fear a leaking mask, the answer is not to dive deeper, blindly fighting fear. Instead the solution would be to seek professional support and work on your mask clearing skills. 

So, be brave, but don’t tough it out when learning 

Draw on your courage in facing fears and you will see the benefits.  But remember, the thinking parts of our brain go offline when we are excessively stressed. To learn skills effectively, we need to stay connected.

If you find yourself overly stressed in training, take a break, ask for more support and additional time. Skills can be broken down into smaller steps.  You can always go back to the swimming pool for practice, to develop confidence and competence. The PADI system of education is built to aid you in this development. 

Feel the fear.  Change what you do. But most of all, learn the skills you need to rise to challenges in your diving and face your fears with confidence. Again, and again, and again.

 

Source: https://www2.padi.com/blog/2019/02/06/how-to-face-your-fears-in-scuba-diving/

AUTHOR BIO:

Dr Laura Walton is a Clinical Psychologist and PADI IDC Staff Instructor with a fascination for the psychology of diving. Visit scubapsyche to learn more about our behaviour as divers.

Featured Author // October 1, 2018

What I’ll Never Forget About Learning to Dive

By blogger, Lisa from Fjords and Beaches

Learning-to-dive-OK

Learning to dive is an amazing experience, and I almost wish I could experience it again! The nervousness when trying to remember the theory of it, the shock when I realised that the gear was quite heavy (not sure what I was imagining), and the feeling of letting myself descent for the first time. These are all things I can barely explain to someone who is yet to try diving.

These are some of the things I’ll never forget about my PADI Open Water Diver course

The sound underwater

One of my favourite things about learning to dive was realising how quiet it is under the surface. It is such a relaxing experience, and a part of me would like to argue that diving and meditation has its similarities.

My first breath underwater

I’m sure this is a given, but there is truth to the cliché. The first time I drew a breath underwater I was standing on my knees, face to face with my instructor, just off a beach in the Maldives. We did nothing but breathe for several minutes, so that I would get used to the sensation. It was absolutely magical.

Learning-to-Dive-Black-tip-reef-shark

Seeing a shark during my Confined Water Tests

Not long after my first breath underwater it was time to start with some of the Confined Water Tests. As I was out in the ocean, there were plenty of oceanic life around us, including a blacktip reef shark! It swam past us without a care in the world, and all though it was only about 1 meter long, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ll never forget that sight!

Being completely weightless

I mean, it’s only in space and under water you can truly experience this. I have no plans of becoming an astronaut in the near future, so diving is my best shot. The first time I managed to control my buoyancy and simply float was an incredible experience. I think I spent the entire dive swimming in corkscrew circles around myself (you know, like Ariel?) instead of actually looking at the fish my instructor kept pointing out.

So there you have some of my most unforgettable memories from learning to dive. If you have the opportunity to experience this for yourself, grab it!

Source: https://www2.padi.com/blog/2017/11/08/ill-never-forget-learning-dive/


Featured Author // August 7, 2018

From Snorkeling to Getting Scuba Certified: What You Need to Know

byBrooke Morton

Snorkeling person

If you’re already a strong snorkeler, or at least comfortable with your face in the water, you’re well on your way to getting Open Water Diver certified. But it won’t be a total cakewalk. Here are the top three skills that will surprise even the most experienced snorkelers.

You’ll need to become comfortable underwater with no mask on.

But don’t worry—this is a skill you will build up to in class. Students first partially flood their mask to feel what it’s like to have water near their eyes. Then you’ll fully flood your mask when you’re ready, and with instructor supervision.

“This is the number one thing that can throw people for a loop,” says Rob Kohl, course director and owner of Seal Sports in Mandeville, Louisiana. “Our brains tell us we cannot breathe when we have water on our eyes, so we have to overcome this psychologically.”

You will learn how to find balance with your weight underwater.

When snorkeling, if you’re staying on the surface, you don’t have to think much—if at all—about your weight or buoyancy. But with scuba diving, you’ll play with weights on a weight belt or integrated weight system, and with air in your buoyancy compensator, aka BC, until you find that neutral sweet spot.

According to Kohl, “This is really unique for people at first. You want to be neither sinking nor floating, so you learn to put just the right amount of air into your BC.”

The good news: “After 10 to 15 dives, anyone can have this skill dialed in.”

Diving person

You will find a natural breathing pattern underwater.

“I usually ask people if they hike, jog or swim laps,” says Scott Shelley, course director for Ventura Dive and Sport in Ventura, California.

He adds, “If you’ve developed a breathing pattern for another sport, you’ll surely find one for scuba.”

Because the threat looms of water coming down the snorkel barrel, most surface swimmers don’t find a calm, regular breathing pattern.

“They just haven’t started taking deep, long, slow breaths yet,” says Shelley, “You just need to relax and let the equipment do its job. It’s one of those things that comes very naturally to people by the end of the Open Water course.”

Ready to take the giant leap into scuba diving? Sign up for a PADI Open Water Diver course.

Source: http://www2.padi.com/blog/2017/01/25/from-snorkeling-to-getting-scuba-certified-what-you-need-to-know/

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