There is still so much stigma around mental health these days. But studies have shown that partaking in some form of regular exercise or sport can really boost a person’s mental state as well as their well being. For some people, scuba diving is that sport! We are going to talk about why diving is amazing for some people’s mental health and the adverse effects it can have on a person’s life!
Obviously it is really important to think about your safety whilst diving as this can be quite a dangerous sport if not done properly! So make sure you seek advice from an instructor beforehand if needs be.
All that aside though, why is scuba diving so great for your mental health?
Well, research has proven that scuba diving is great for promoting mindfulness, can really boost your mood and well-being, and even contributes to improving depression, anxiety and social functioning. How amazing is that!
And yes, we all know that exercise in general is great for your physical health, but I don’t think many people really think about the true profound impact that it can have on a person’s life overall. Exercise is an amazing mood booster, getting those ‘feel good’ hormones flowing, and actually scuba diving really can be quite an active sport. Despite the fact that you are moving slowly through the water, you are always continuously swimming and using your core muscles all the while you are doing so.
Do you suffer with social anxiety? No problem. Obviously whilst scuba diving, there is no real opportunity for a good old chinwag whilst in the depths of the ocean…the only way to communicate with others is to use hand signals! So even if you do find it hard to socialise, this shouldn’t cause too much of an issue. That being said, each diver has to have a buddy so it will entail a small amount of conversation before you dive, but the ‘check’ before diving is almost like a ‘script’ for you to follow which should ease any anxiety slightly instead of having to make conversation yourself off the top of your head. Then, hopefully by the end of the dive, you will have gained a little confidence in order to be able to speak with even just your dive buddy….scuba diving really does bring people together! What a fantastic community!
At One With Your Mind
Just like with Yoga or Meditation, breathing plays a massive part in this, just as much as breathing is an essential part of diving, and yes, that may sound silly, but there really needs to be a focus on breath as it is vital that you control your air consumption whilst under water. Focusing on your breathing can put you into a meditative state of mind causing a sense of calm which is great for your mindfulness, in turn. When diving the depths of the ocean, you are in a sound vacuum...pair this with your focused breathing and peaceful surroundings, it makes for creating a ‘safe haven’ for you to try and escape your worries and anxieties….just let them float away!
Many people question whether it is safe to dive if you have mental health issues, and obviously the answer will differ depending on your condition and ability to function. But in a nutshell, when diving, it is important that you have the capacity to learn and understand what is being said, as well as applying the necessary skills to keep yourself safe! On top of this, you need to make sure that you are in full control of your own actions too and are able to deal with emotional reactions from any challenges you may end up facing. So with that in mind, if that all sounds ace, then get straight to diving any of your stresses away...and remember, enjoy the moment!
But overall, taking everything into consideration, any form of exercise really can be fab for supporting mental health! People who regularly exercise can benefit from an amazing sense of well-being for doing so, as well as having an impact on reducing stress and it may even help improve your sleep too! Amazing!! So if you then also have a love or passion for scuba diving, why would you not engage in this incredible sport to help support your mental health and well-being? Seems like an all-rounder to me!
So, has scuba diving helped you with mental health issues? What impact has it had on your life? Please feel free to share your experiences with us and your fellow outdoor adventurers in the comment...you never know, your experiences may really help others.
Author: Gemma Johnson