How to Handle Pre-Dive Stress
One of the most enduring misconceptions about scuba diving or any adventurous activity in general is that stress or anticipatory anxiety stops occurring after a certain point. Unless you were born a daredevil, even the most experienced divers experience pre-dive stress from time to time. Even in highly popular scuba diving tourist locations such as Catalina Island, where on average over a million people visit per year, many divers amateur or experienced can experience bouts of pre-dive stress. If it’s unavoidable, the real question is, how do you deal with it?
Defining Stress In Simple Terms
Stress can be defined as your body’s reaction to anything that demands adaptation from you. Sound complicated? It’s not! Simply put, any time you have to rely on yourself or put yourself through an experience that demands something of you, you may feel stressed. Stress is naturally a difficult thing to quantify because of how subjective it is. For example, we could have two scuba divers. Each of these divers may feel a similar amount of stress, but the reasons for their stress could be totally opposite. One may be fearful of the physical danger they believe themselves to be in when diving (fear of water, fear of sea creatures). The other may be fearful of the psychological aspects of diving such as performance anxiety or being paranoid about their equipment.
Handling Scuba Diving Related Stress
Notice I said “handling” diving related stress, not prevent. The truth is, stress is highly subjective and has multiple reasons for why it occurs. Many times, stress may even appear to be disproportionate or unreasonable relative to your experience level. You may have gone on hundreds of safe dives and never felt too worried, but for some reason, today you feel psyched out. Even though we wish we could, we really can’t control the way we feel. If you can’t avoid your stress, then the only thing you can do is utilize it to become a better diver by being aware and productive. Stress is one of those things that seems to get worse the more you try to manage it. Taking a page from mindfulness meditation, merely accepting your stress and not attempting to change it are all paradoxical ways which can help you deal with it.
Have a Pre-Dive Routine
Checking your gear and getting in the right headspace before a dive is incredibly important—something we at Dive Catalina always drill into our student’s heads. So, while a pre-dive gear check is nothing out of the ordinary to prescribe for divers—because you should be doing it regardless of if you feel stress or anxiety or not, it’s more so the routine you want to focus on. If you develop a thorough routine, it becomes a matter of habit to feel more at ease after having done it, because you know it leads to safer dives. There’s a lot of science behind the psychology of rituals—they all ultimately state that the ritual itself is what gives you peace of mind, such as the act of preparing a cup of tea will make you feel relaxed.
Scuba Diving Catalina Island
Scuba diving is an amazing hobby and activity that many people have safely participated in for decades. Like any hobby though, there are potential dangers for those who are careless or inexperienced. This can lead many people to feel anxious or stressed prior to dives, and that stress can be the factor which inevitably causes you to make mistakes. Therefore, having a good grasp on how stress works and what you can do about it is a useful tool in your diving belt—and for life in general.
More importantly, having a solid foundation to rest on for your dives will give you the confidence you need to keep stress at bay! At Dive Catalina, our instructors come from a wide variety of backgrounds—but the one thing they have in common is that they are all phenomenal, extremely well-qualified dive instructors. We’ve shown hundreds of students how to brave the waters and explore the majesty of the ocean. Contact us here to make a reservation today, or give us a call at (310)-510-3175 if you have any questions about our services. We’ll be happy to answer any questions if it means bringing you one step closer to joining in on the fun!