Conquering Water Phobia as an Adult
Feeling anxious or hesitant at the thought of swimming?
Too often these negative feelings are associated with water. If the very thought of submerging yourself makes you shudder, than you maybe one of the thousand, if not millions of adults who struggle with fear of water.
The very first few moments entering water and the resulting adrenaline rush coursing throughout our bodies is often confused with a sense of losing control or the fear of the unknown.
As humans, we assess our environment, take cues from the outside world and assign meaning and traits to our stimuli. But presented with an unknown body of water, we quickly shriek at the countless unknown factors: What’s the temperature, what’s the depth, and what could possibly be at the bottom? Suspense builds…and fear sets in. However, the sea is calling you my friend, and its time to confront your water phobia.
Contact Leila Vaziri about Swim Lessons in New York City.
Conquering Water Phobia as an Adult
My first suggestion would be, can you find someone you trust to help you face your fears of the water?
It’s always easier trying something new or challenging with the support of someone special.
If you don’t have a good friend that you can turn to when taking the plunge, invest in finding a swim coach or joining a club. See swim classes as an investment with lifelong returns. At first you may need to do a bit or research or to even try a handful or classes helping you find the perfect someone who helps ease your water worries. Ask around. Have friends or family recently been brushing up on their water skills?
Many times people contact me about adult learn to swim lesson but worry that I only coach “more advanced individuals” or there’s no hope for someone past a certain age. I assure you this is not the case what so ever. In fact, the majority of my swimmers come to swimming later in life, often after other sports have burnt them out or left them with injuries. Often doctors recommend swimming later in life as the best form of non-impact cardio.
However, after a lifelong avoidance of water adults have built up phobia and fears of what they assume lurks below or dare I say within.
I watch these same adults who struggle at the beginning come to embrace the experience of facing their fears and ultimately cherish their time in the water. I often hear
“It took me half my life to realize I love swimming.”
Swim gear is minimal but essential to helping you feel prepared to help jump start your new endeavor. Swim equipment begins with a good pair of googles and cap, so you ears, eyes, and nose are comfortably.
A swimsuit is also a must unless your learning to swim off Miami Beach.
You want your general comfort level to be high so you’re not fussing with water getting in your ear eye, nose or your suit parachuting you downward.
There you are: at the pool, with someone you trust, and equipped to take the plunge.
As you stand on the edge of the unknown, gather yourself by taking a few deep breaths.
The first moments the focus is to quiet your fears and adjust to the new sensory experience.
The best way to slow our heart rate and ease tension is by breath awareness. Anticipate the first moment you enter the water. It will take your breath away, as it usually colder than the air temperature. Don’t let the momentary change throw your focus, in a few short moments it will pass and you will regulate to the water.
Once this passes, focus on addressing other factors of your new environment.
Lower your body in by inch, don’t rush.
Your body is in but putting our face in becomes the biggest challenge. As human mammals, we are not capable of breathing in water, so don’t test this theory. Practice taking a deep inhale above water – put your nose and mouth in the water – and take a deep exhale.
Congrats, you’re on your way to conquering your fear of water. Don’t let a lingering childhood experience – or lack there of – hold you back from the thrilling experience of swimming.
The fear of the unknown will become a craving of yours and a way to exercise calm and focus.
Leila blogs about swimming technique, her swimwear design, and featuring news clips.