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Help to Overcome a Fear of Swimming

Posted in Personal Injury on July 9, 2018

Aquaphobia, or a fear of water, can translate into a fear of swimming and a fear of drowning. These are common fears that affect thousands of people around the world. Being afraid to get in the water, however, can put a damper on your summer. If you or your child is trying to overcome a fear of swimming, there are safe and effective ways to do so. We’ve included a few helpful tips below.

Understand How Swimming Works

People often fear what they don’t understand. Learning how swimming works, including the principles of buoyancy, can help you demystify drowning and take some of the fear out of the process. The more you know about swimming, the less you’ll fear drowning. You’ll have a better chance of controlling your anxiety if you know at least the basics of how buoyancy works. A simple internet search can help you learn about swimming. Learn about deep-breathing and relaxation techniques as well to help you stay calm when trying to swim.

Start Slow

“Jumping into the deep end” isn’t a good method when it comes to overcoming your fear of swimming. It’s better to take some things slow. Start in the shallow end, getting your feet wet and gradually walking deeper. Splash some water on your face and think of positive images to associate water with something you enjoy. Work with a professional swim coach or at least a buddy who knows how to swim so that you’re not on this journey alone. It’s easier to get comfortable in the water with someone you know and trust with you.

Take a Moment to Relax

If you feel yourself start to get anxious or panicky, take a moment to breathe and relax. Stand up or hold onto the pool ladder and take your time quelling your stress. Picture a happy place where you feel safe. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for a break or for a flotation device while learning how to swim. Do what makes you feel comfortable, safe, and in control of the situation. Don’t let anyone rush you.

Practice Going Under

For most people, fear of swimming is actually a fear of drowning. Learn how to conquer this fear by getting comfortable holding your breath underwater. Don’t worry – you can start while standing up in shallow water. Bend down to submerge your face, taking a deep breath as you go under. Stay for as long or as short a time as you’re comfortable with. Continue submerging just your head and face until you feel confident in going completely underwater. Find out a few best practices for how to breathe while swimming and start practicing those.

Try Floating

Most people are naturally buoyant and find it easy to float on their backs in the water. This is a good skill to learn, as it can become your go-to if you start to feel tired, scared, or anxious while you swim. Floating takes no energy once you learn how to do it, so it will not tire you out. Your face is safely out of the water while you float. You’ll have the choice to catch your breath and continue swimming, backstroke to shore, or keep floating until someone comes to help.

Get Professional Help

If you want to cool off this summer by swimming, conquer your fears with help from a professional swim instructor. Find a swim class near you to help you feel more confident in the water. A professional can guide you through all the steps to learning how to swim, as well as help you overcome your phobias. Be upfront with your instructor about your fears and find someone you feel completely comfortable with in the water. Swim in safety and confidence this summer!