Experts estimate around five percent of Americans have claustrophobia. Unlike other phobia’s, claustrophobia doesn’t keep you from going about your daily activities. It does have bad timing, though, and can keep you from participating in certain pastimes. Pastimes such as scuba diving seem like an activity you may never get to do. But only if you learn how to overcome claustrophobia.
How to Overcome Claustrophobia
There aren’t any cures for the phobia of small spaces. But there are some claustrophobia treatment tips, like how to deal with the symptoms.
1. Breathing Exercises
When learning how to deal with claustrophobia, you’ll find out that it’s anxiety based. That means, targeting the reaction to the phobia is going to be your best shot at overcoming it. One effective way to treat your symptoms is to learn breathing exercises. The reason is that when anxiety takes over, the body’s reaction is to start breathing harder. To keep from hyperventilating, learn to slow your breathing. When you use breathing exercises, you can calm your heart-rate and slow down anxiety.
2. Hire an Understanding Instructor
If scuba diving is your end goal, you’ll need help along the way. No one learns to scuba dive with the help of an instructor, so you’re no different. The important factor when hiring an instructor is that you find someone understanding. It would be even better if you could hire an instructor who has helped many divers with phobias. Check reviews, get peoples word for it, and then talk to them before ever diving. It’s even better if you can get a few private sessions before taking the plunge into deeper waters.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Here’s the thing: you can’t perfect anything without trying several times. The same will go for scuba diving and overcoming claustrophobia. If you have the means, practice over and over in safe waters before you venture out. Practice with your instructor, then practice with whomever you’re going diving with. The more you get a chance to make it normal, the better it will be for you. Ask a diving partner to spend time with you so you can learn each other’s hand signals. Trust and the buddy system will be vital to having a good and safe experience.
4. Overcoming Mask Issues
For some, being underwater isn’t a problem. The mask is. If that’s the case for you, there might be some things you can do to reduce the problem. The dark rubber, or skirt, around the mask is what trips some people up. Instead, try finding a mask with a clear skirt. This makes it seem less dark inside of the mask and allows you to feel freer. Full-face masks are also an option. They allow for more glass, which gives you more viewing. Again, this won’t make you feel so confined.
More Scuba Diving Information
Learning how to overcome claustrophobia may seem like an impossible task. But if you want to have the experience of a lifetime, it’s the only way. Through the help of friends, and through will-power, you can scuba be diving in no time.