The ocean is a wild, enormous, mysterious, and untameable thing, and having a healthy respect for its power and even its dangers is understandable and sensible. But for some people, this respect can tip over into fear and become a problem.
A minor fear of the sea is usually not a problem and something that most people who worry about its dangers can overcome quite easily. However, for some, a fear of the ocean is a huge issue and can have a negative impact on their lives. If being afraid of the ocean means that your day-to-day life or vacation choices are being affected, you might have thalassophobia or a phobia of the ocean.
Phobias are tricky things to deal with, but there are a number of steps you can take to mitigate your ocean fear and make beach holidays and even a short cruise itinerary manageable. Read on, and discover some of the best ways to overcome your thalassophobia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help overcome phobias by helping you alter negative thoughts and damaging behaviors to make them healthier and more positive. CBT is not just ‘the power of positive thinking,’ but rather has an impact on the neural pathways of people suffering from phobic disorders, helping to overcome fears like thalassaphobia long-term.
Another option when it comes to treating phobias is to face them head-on and confront their power over you, often referred to as exposure therapy. Almost everyone who has phobias makes an effort to avoid their fears, which can actually worsen the disorder as the object of the phobia becomes greater and more concerning in the imagination than in real life. Exposure therapy forces you to expose yourself to your fears, gently and gradually, in order to help you overcome them. With a fear of the ocean, this might involve watching videos of the sea in the company of a therapist, moving gradually forward, and eventually facing the ocean in real life.
While medication is not necessary in most cases of thalassophobia and does not constitute a ‘cure’ as such, anti-anxiety medication can be helpful in certain cases. If you find yourself in a situation where avoiding the sea is not an option and therapy has not had time to help, medication can deal with the symptoms of your phobia and help you relax.
Relaxation strategies can also be useful in dealing with phobias. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of anxiety when confronted by the ocean, try using strategies that can relax your mind and body to deal with them. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive visualization can all be helpful in managing your fears.