Over the last decade, on average, ten people drowned every day. Eight of those ten victims were adults. When you factor in the statistics reported by Psychology Today, that two-thirds of Americans are afraid of open bodies of water, and 46% are afraid of the deep end of a pool, the numbers start to make sense. Add to those numbers the fact that 37% of Americans are unable to swim, and one can see how 4000 people a year in the United States die of drowning.
Those numbers are horrific. And when you read them, I’m sure, like me, that you think something should be done. I’m here to tell you two things. One, fear is a powerful deterrent and one that many people spend a lifetime fighting. Those percentages above represent people with real feelings and potentially crippling fear. And two, it IS possible to overcome fear using utilizing a growth mindset
Overcome fear with a growth mindset
To overcome aquaphobia or any other fear that paralyzes you, you must obtain competency and coping skills, both acquired by the proper application of the growth mindset.
Competency: The hard truth is that in order to conquer fear, you must face what you are afraid of. Avoiding your fear leads to a sense of failure, increased anxiety, and more belief in fixed abilities. Facing it, however, leads to confidence, empowerment, competency, and eventual mastery.
Find swim instructors (or other knowledgeable experts in your field) that know precisely how to coach a person through the physical and emotional impact of anxiety using proven coaching methods and a firm understanding of the growth mindset. Exposure to your fear isn’t natural or enjoyable, but neither is the eventual prison of fixed belief in your failure.
Coping: Momentary fear can strike even the most experienced swimmers. Learn coping mechanisms for fear, including the knowledge of your competency in the water, and the mastery of techniques that allow rest and recovery in a potentially dangerous situation. Understand that setbacks and failures during your journey only serve to drive you forward. Use your past negative interactions with the water to fuel your determination to be at One with the Water now.
Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.