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How a woman has overcome her fear of diving and learned to love her

  scuba-diving-fears.jpg Photo: Radius Images / Getty Images

If I had to geotagged The majestic underwater kingdom of the Little Mermaid (19459004) would definitely be in Fiji. Located in the South Pacific, this remote country has 333 tropical islands and is described as the "home of happiness" – and I can tell you that it certainly felt like I landed in Nadi, on the main island of Viti Levu.

What I did not expect was that although I was surrounded by picture-perfect # travelporn, my journey would soon be filled with fear and self-doubt.

Like many people in the FOMO era, I am constantly being driven and drawn by an internal dialogue in which one voice says, "I want to be brave and do the thing!" And another says, "I do not want to do that thing I'm totally nuts! "

This time, diving was the" thing "that caused my inner turmoil. The easy solution would be to just skip it and go snorkeling, paddle and jet ski ̵

1; but I have it I've always wanted to learn scuba diving, and Fiji is undoubtedly the best place to do it, something both beginners (like I) as well as experienced divers (such as these badass divers who want to get you to get your certificate.)

Being geographically hidden at the bottom of the earth means that the environment is in an untouched state. The country is free of coastal overpopulation, sedimentary and chemical processes of agriculture and rising sea temperatures (which can lead to coral bleaching) And then there are the dive sites: With 70 islands on the islands there are endless hours under water and you can with eight different shark species (!) In the Beqa Lagoon (on Beqa Island, 38 miles south) swim from Viti Levu) and Pacific Harbor (at the southern tip of Viti Levu); Enjoy the views of the Rainbow Reef in Taveuni (on Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji and 100 miles northeast of Viti Levu). and romp next to the manta rays on the island of Nanuya Balavu (71 miles northwest of the main island).

It's like an IRL version of Finding Nemo – so it was needless to say that I got my feet wet (no pun intended).

For your information, you must obtain a diving certification before you can dive into deep blue. Fortunately, many resorts – such as Six Senses Fiji (on Malolo Island) and Jean-Michel Cousteau (JMC) Resort (on Vanua Levu) – offer a package that coordinates equipment, lessons, and a certification program that only takes three days. Or use a bespoke service, such as Big Blue Fiji, to simplify all logistics when staying in a resort without diving trips.

It all seemed simple: Watch the safety video, get equipped with your scuba gear, learn basic survival and recovery skills (no less in a children's pool), and you're golden. Then your reward: an opportunity to go into the open water with a diving instructor. (See also: Meet the divers who encourage more women to dive)

The third skill (the extremely uncomfortable practice of flooding and then clearing the water mask) made my bold and adventurous stance thin. Instead, I felt rushed and overwhelmed. There was so much work to do: getting used to the feeling of swimming in all that (heavy!) Gear, breathing through my mouth with a regulator, adjusting my diving mask to prevent water from entering, and getting sick feel when you stop the stalling class. At times when I feel a fit of anxiety, yoga is the best way to calm me down. More specifically, with a deep stomach breath: I inhale slowly through the nose, inflate the stomach and chest fully and exhale slowly through the mouth.

Since I wore the diving mask and was underwater, this lifeline was obviously not available. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with fear and dreamed up a million "what if" scenarios. My brain pressed the "escape" button, and I promptly climbed out of the pool and undressed. I felt disappointed as I watched everyone else turn up for a dive in the open water.

That evening, I faced my husband, who reassured me: He told me to stop stressing, stop criticizing myself, and stop repeating the day's failure in my head. Before I went to sleep, I found a moment of clarity and recalled a helpful quote from Mary Engelbreit that I often address: "If you do not like something, change it; if you can not change it, change the style and Way, how you think about it. " It has brought me through other (initially) challenging moments in my life. And (spoiler alert!) Finally drove me through this

I remembered the first reason why I wanted to dive: it's fun! The main reason why I have participated in sports or activity in my life is that I enjoy it. Why did I let myself be turned into a fearful wreck by a holiday activity that was supposed to be fun? (Related: What This Creepy Scuba Diving Accident Teached Me About Proper Planning)

The next day, with increased determination and a revised perspective, I did some deep inhalations and gave me positive verbal testimony: You're alright. You have this here. Take it at your own pace. No matter what, remember, most importantly, have fun.

I decided to give the dive another try – and it was incredible. These seemingly insignificant settings have made a big difference. no longer afraid, now I was thrilled. My instructor (who was also phenomenally calm, helpful and intuitive) confirmed the end result of my dive: "We're here to have fun and enjoy the beauty of Fiji." At my own pace, I broke through the abilities, and within two hours I was in the warm blue waters of Savusavu Bay, drifting through the depths. The pride I felt was only surpassed by the underwater majesty of Fiji Diving.

Diving itself was pure magic, but with the conquest of my fears and fears, the experience took on a deeper meaning. The water felt particularly therapeutic and meditative, almost like an extension of my yoga practice. It was a complete contrast from the previous day. And since then, I've adapted that way of thinking to overcome all of the daily struggles (work deadlines) to challenge my body and mind (to marathon for the first time in Japan).

Best of all, the serenity of diving means that every time I get out there (yes, it's official, I'm addicted), the rest of the world and my problems disappear, if only for a brief moment. Since I decided to hold out on this second day in Fiji, I now dove off the island of Muravandhoo on the Raa Atoll in the northern Maldives (to explore cool art sculptures that are deep in the sea water) and in the luxurious, tropical waters of Carlisle Bay in Barbados (diving in the belly of a shipwreck). If I had never passed this first panic episode, I would never know what the world looks like deep under the water surface – and now I live for those moments.

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