You have to prepare for so much when you're getting ready to scuba dive, and that includes anxiety.
You might think, "But I'll be fine! I'm going to be too excited to be nervous!" But anxiety and excitement are often two sides of the same coin. Assuming you won't feel anxious isn't realistic, especially if you're not an experienced diver.
Staying calm and avoiding anxiety isn't always possible, but you can develop strategies for responding to the anxiety in a way that ensures it doesn't defeat you.
Read on for tips on keeping your cool when scuba diving.
A cup of cold brew might work well if you're trying to wake up and go to an office job, but be wary of too much caffeine before a dive.
Why? Because if you're already worried about strapping on your scuba equipment and getting nervous, a jolt of caffeine is only going to exacerbate that feeling.
While caffeine is a stimulant, alcohol is a depressant. For some people, a little wine is enough to make them have a crying fit.
Think about how your body responds to substances like alcohol and caffeine. You need to feel as cool and even-keeled as possible, so choose your pre-dive food and beverages accordingly.
Some naturally anxious people have to deal with catastrophic thinking, which means they can't just think one bad thought. The thoughts accumulate, and then everything feels like a catastrophic mess.
But if you go into a mental spiral underwater, you're putting both yourself and other divers at risk.
Instead of visualizing how one mistake could lead to everything going wrong, go through ways to fix it in your head. Do that over and over until reminding yourself how to stay calm feels like second nature.
Looking at your equipment can help, too. Pieces like your oxygen tank and dive light are tangible reminders that you do, in fact, know what you're doing.
Don't just practice thinking. Practice safety measures as well, even if you're going through the motions in a kiddie pool in your backyard.
For instance, what will happen if you see a shark? Divers should know that's a very unlikely scenario but prepare for it anyway if you need to give yourself extra peace of mind.
Sharks will leave you alone most of the time, but to be safe, don't turn your back to the shark, and definitely don't try to take a selfie with it.
You should know your maximum depth before you go under. Don't deviate from that.
When you're underwater and really feeling how beautiful and serene the environment seems, there may be a temptation to push yourself and go deeper.
That's a natural impulse, but you don't want to get so far out of your comfort zone that you're no longer in control of the situation.
There's no shame in canceling a dive if your heart is racing and you can't keep calm. You can always try again later.
You're not a failure. It doesn't matter if you're on the boat and minutes from diving; you can still bow out if the anxiety is too much.
It's much better to wait until you're feeling better than to dive while you're a bundle of nerves.
As mentioned before, having the right gear can help with staying calm. You don't want to be underwater and wondering if your equipment will hold up.
We've got decades of experience outfitting divers. If you're looking for an upgraded light or accessory, contact us.