Don’t be afraid of Drowning
Drowning is a very legitimate fear, especially for people who do not know how to swim or who are not very good at swimming. What happens if you fall in the water unprepared? What happens if you are swimming and you get too tired?
There is one incredibly simple survival technique that can save your life if you feel like you are drowning. Everyone can learn it, from six month old babies to ninety nine year old grannies. You don’t have to be strong, and you don’t even have to know how to swim. All you have to know is how to do this one technique and you can save yourself from drowning.
Float on your back
That’s it. Just float on your back. Take a deep breath and fill your lungs up with air. This will make you float. Lean your head back so that you are looking up at the sky. Let your body relax. Your legs will probably sink down a bit, but as long as your torso is floating and your head is above the water, you will be fine.
Breathe nearly normally. We say “nearly” because a truly normal breath pattern usually involves resting for a moment with the lungs empty before inhaling. When you are floating, it is the air in your lungs that keeps you up. So instead of exhaling all the way and pausing, you just exhale some of the way before you inhale again. You don’t need to hold your breath, because this will just cause carbon dioxide to build up in your lungs and will make you feel panicked. Breathe freely, but only exhale partway.
This is easier said than done, but it can save your life. When you panic and struggle, your body sinks in the water. When you relax, your body will float because of the air in your lungs. So relax, don’t struggle.
The best way not to panic in an emergency situation is to have a lot of practice at doing the right thing. The more you practice floating on your back, the more it will become an automatic response.