As an early birthday treat my boyfriend arranged a trip to Mozambique to swim with dolphins in the wild. To visit the dolphins in their natural home and to encounter how they live.
Despite testing the easybreathe mask prior to the first dolphin swim, it was only deep in the ocean that I discovered that the mask leaked.
I freaked out and panicked as the mask filled with water soon after placing my head in the ocean to see the dolphins. As a result, I did not encounter the dolphins despite them being in close proximity to me.
A rational and logical response would be to remove the mask and swim without it but I did not think of that at the time. My mind was too busy overthinking different fear-inducing scenarios. Shortly after returning to the boat the seasickness got the better of me and I kindly fed the fish.
It was a life long dream to swim with dolphins in the wild. The expectations that I had vowed to let go of, just a few weeks prior to my trip, had lead to disappointment.
On the subsequent dolphin swims, my snorkeling gear fitted my face and the seasickness was controlled but the anxiety remained. Thus limiting the enjoyment of the dolphin and marine encounter.
How often do you try something new? Do you become anxious because it doesn’t work out the way you expected it to? Or does your previous experience detract from the present moment?
What do you do when your gear fails? Do you panic and lose sight of what you want to achieve?
It is a natural response for you to become anxious, panic or feel overwhelmed when you feel you have lost control. To regain control and help manage anxiety, breathe.
Breathing oxygenates the brain and calms the nervous system equipping your body with the physical resources it needs in order to cope. By consciously breathing, with slow deep inhalations and exhaling through your mouth, your mind is focused on your breath. Thus allowing you the space, time and oxygen to relax and think more clearly. With breathing comes clarity. And in turn the insight of how to proceed.
As I began to breath more consciously whilst in the water, I was able to relax and enjoy the entire marine experience. Not only did I see dolphins but was also privileged to see a white tipped reef shark, turtle, and brightly coloured fish.
Breathing opens the mind and allows in new possibilities.
Next time you feel anxious think ABC – Anxiety, Breath, Clarity.