“Breath Control: Stress Control”

Breath Control: Stress Control


“Given healthy lungs, other breathing problems can be related to anxiety or fear under water. A common reaction to anxiety or fear is a rapid, shallow breathing pattern. Shallow breathing can then lead to an out-of-breath feeling.
The way to manage anxiety and stress and avoid panic is simple.  Slow your breathing down by focusing on the exhale in order to return to normal breathing, which (as described in Section 2), is a slow, steady inhalation followed by a relaxed exhale, which lets the air flow out naturally. This may not be the way you breathe all the time above or under water, but it is what we mean when we say: “breathe normally” under water.
The physical tension created by fear makes a relaxed exhalation difficult. By focusing on the exhalation, relaxing and letting the air flow out, you actually calm yourself down and return to normal breathing. This also helps calm your body by slowing the breathing rate and lowering carbon dioxide levels. Managing your breathing is your most important diving stress management technique.”

SSI Open Water Diver