It’s the holiday season again, and for the majority of us, it’s all about sand, sea, sun and relaxation. But for some of us, it can bring out a severe fear of water..
In this article I want to talk about what you can do if you suffer with aquaphobia.
Whether it’s that you have had a bad experience in water, or you have a fear of having a bad experience in water, when it comes to summer holidays, it can difficult to avoid being surrounded by water. For most of us, the ideal summer holiday includes a good old trip to the seaside…
Whether it be visiting somewhere in this country, or heading abroad to lounge by the poolside, the average persons holiday includes the presence of water, and for most of us, it’s enjoyable. But for some, it can leave them with palpitations, sweaty palms, and perhaps even the avoidance of even going on holiday in the first place!
Take my client, Sean I will call him (real identity protected). He came to see me about his fear of flying.. it had prevented him from taking a vacation for most of his adult life. As soon as he realised that he was free from this particular phobia, he went home to tell his girlfriend that they could finally book that dream trip to Cuba. I remember receiving an email from him, telling me how grateful they BOTH were to me because they could finally head off to Cuba..
So you can imagine the shock that I had when only two weeks later, I received another email from him… Chris, I NEED to see you….!!!!!
The flight had been uneventful, in fact Sean had actually enjoyed it! So what on earth was the matter then? I sat with my coffee and pondered….. and then he told me…. all had been fine until they reached the waterfront… and then Sean found himself in a panic. He’d never really been fully aware of it before, as he’d always avoided going on holiday. But now that he was in Cuba, his underlying phobia of water struck him.. and he was sent into total panic.
So, what can YOU do if you are struggling with a fear of water? Here are my top 3 tips:
1. Accept it for what it is and don’t try to hide it.
The worst thing that you can do is try and repress and hide your phobia. People do this by making excuses when it comes to going on holiday, or heading out the rest of the family to the beach or poolside for the day. Tell people you know that you have this phobia.. use the term ‘aquaphobia’… make it clear that it is an actual phobia and is not something that you can just get over.
Often, the fear of fear, and being found out can be even more scary than the thing that we are scared of and only perpetuates the situation. Talk about it and then seek help.
2. Seek help. This IS treatable.
Book a session with a therapist, get some help, and also, why not attend a class that they hold in a pool where you can experience water and learn about water safety, whilst being guided by a trained instructor and a life guard? By addressing the problem you can be free from it and that means that you won’t have to spend your life missing out on the joy of water! Also, learning some key water safety skills will give you confidence that if something was to happen then you could stay calm and in control of things.
3. Try this quick exercise at home. Right now…
Close your eyes and take yourself back to a time where you were in a situation in water that scared you. Put yourself back in that time, feel those feelings, and then take that image that you have in your minds eye and turn it black and white. Turn it black and white and then take it in your hand and throw it to the ground. Now, ask yourself.. how are you feeling?
The fact is, that water can be dangerous, so to some extent, all of us have an element of fear when it comes to water. But if it’s blown out of proportion and is affecting the choices that you make, it’s time to call it a phobia. Talking about it with friends and family doesn’t help matters, because they will approach things with logic and phobias are not logical. Talk to a phobia specialist, get things into perspective, and tackle it as a phobia. Let this be the last year that you avoid that family holiday, and empower yourself even further by becoming confident about water safety. You never know when your skills may come in handy and you can turn something that is currently a negative into a positive.
Until the next time,
Christopher Paul Jones.
p.s book a free clarity call with me and let’s talk more about your water phobia (or any phobia for that matter!).