Speaking of life changing and fear underwater, diving can be fatal to those who panic. Underwater stress is a simple play on the mind and causes some to panic. Awareness is key to understanding when you are feeling overwhelmed so you can learn the triggers of panic. Around about 20% of all diver deaths are due to a panicked diver unable to receive air and drowning.
Breathing is the most important side to diving; Do not hold your breath. Lung over expansion is a thing, alright? Your breath is 90% of your buoyancy. Using your low pressure inflator is a sign of weakness!-for the experienced. More importantly breathing is a calming action that reduces stress.
An amygdala is an almond sized lobe of the brain that processes learnt fears and decision making; This is where anxiety and many other fears can occur. There is a rare phenomenon in people that are born with a condition where this part of their brain is non-existent. These people are incapable of feeling the sense of fear (they could never become like Batman I suppose). However, some studies have shown the inability of breathing overrides this effect in those who do not have a functioning amygdala. Increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in standard air causes a ‘drowning sensation’ and causes them to panic. In saying this, if you have a sensation of being unable to breathe and your almond sized lobe has been functioning for your entire life, uncontrolled panic is more likely.
Once you have developed the skills of being in the ocean, having the equipment strapped on and understanding the feel of an utterly different environment you look towards controlling your breath. You will find an easy freedom of the underwater world.