Posted by: Trevor Riches. 11th March 2015.
Your fear of the water will have been an intensely personal part of your life so far, and here are 7 things you will need to understand before you can begin to overcome of that fear.
Everyone has fears.
It’s completely natural and normal to be scared, nervous or apprehensive about something you don’t understand. It’s just the subconscious part of your brain taking care of you.
As far as your subconscious is concerned it’s doing a good job, keeping you out of danger; like the fear of being burned by the flame when a gas cooker fails to light, or feeling scared when standing near the edge of a cliff.
Everyone has fears, and you are certainly not alone in being scared of the water.
The most daunting step in the process of overcoming any fear or phobia is to be truly honest with yourself. If you are unsure when you first felt scared of being in the water, think back to your childhood.
Did you have a bad experience in or near water? Did you find yourself out of your depth in water where you couldn’t see how deep it was? Or maybe you were pushed under by older children whilst playing in a swimming pool. These are just some of the reasons that cause a fear of the water.
If you can’t remember a specific reason for your fear, try asking your family or close friends. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for their help in remembering, that’s part of the process and leads us to the next thing.
Trust, in a few different forms, is an essential part of the process in facing any fear.
You will need to trust people if you talk to them about your decision to face your fear of water. Tell them that you need their support and encouragement and to say only positive things to you as you step closer to your goal.
You will need to trust your instructor when you finally take the first steps into the pool. Try not to book swimming lessons, but one to one sessions specifically designed for people who are scared of the water.
Group swimming lessons are always for people with mixed abilities and seeing other people who may not be scared of the water, moving around with ease, can make you feel left out.
Warm water is best
You may not have been immersed in water up to your chest for a very long time, if ever, so it is very important to do so in warm water that doesn’t cause a shock to your system.
Choose a pool that is heated to around 34°C. This will mean you won’t get cold, and will be a huge benefit towards you feeling comfortable in the water.
Peace and quiet is essential.
Even if the water is warm, never try to overcome your fear of the water in a busy environment.
Public swimming pools can be very busy places and if there is a certain time of the day allocated for learning to swim, choose that time.
If possible have your sessions in a private pool where you won’t be disturbed by other people splashing about. And always ensure the instructor is by your side in the water at all times.
Take a break from your day to day routine.
The old saying “if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got!” is very true.
That’s why residential courses are so successful in helping people to achieve their goal.
Weekly sessions can work, but progress is bound to be slow and for many, they just give up. Taking a week out to achieve a goal is a big step towards helping you achieve yours.
Swimming is fun.
Most people that overcome their fear of the water will have their own reasons for wanting to learn to swim.
It’s not obligatory though, and some people simply want to ‘paddle’ in the sea or float in the water to cool off, whilst relaxing on holiday.
However, millions of people swim every week for many reasons and I’m sure they would all agree that swimming is great fun!
So, there you have it.
Take time to think about these things, to help you with your decision on what to do next.
Once you understand where you fear comes from, the process involved in facing your fear and the benefits you’ll achieve if you do, you’ll be able to see the full extent of the problem. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Understanding the problem will allow you to fully realise that you actually do have a choice; you can simply choose, whether to keep your fear, or let it go.