Broaden your horizons and shift your perspective
You are somewhere between nervous and excited. You put on your mask. You start to breathe through your regulator and descend. To your amazement, you realise that you have entered another dimension! All your life you looked at the surface of the ocean and thought it was a mirror, but now you see it is really a portal. How could you not have known this world existed?
The horizon is broader than you ever imagined and you’ve just had your first tiny glimpse of the true depth of the planet. Your perspective on the earth has just gone through a massive shift. The world seems bigger, because when we perceive something from a different angle we see more.
Diving may change the way we view things because …
- Travel broadens the mind – as a diver you explore new patches of ocean at every opportunity. Scuba travel means immersing yourself in the environment and experiencing other cultures.
- “No Blue, no green” – half of the world’s oxygen is produced in the ocean. Breathe underwater and you can see for yourself where that air comes from!
- Changing roles – you will move from being a student, to being a more experienced diver, perhaps eventually supporting new divers yourself. On your journey as a scuba diver, there is always another perspective to find.
- New possibilities – you are diving with people who are different from you! Your buddy may be someone you would never have met in real-life. Different languages, careers and cultures, but there is one thing you have in common: you are divers. And diving brings connection.
- The way you look at yourself has changed – you can breathe underwater! You overcome challenges that you never even knew were on your horizon. And that horizon just keeps expanding!
The ability to shift ourselves into seeing things a different way is called “perspective taking”. It is a skill that humans develop throughout life, as we gather more experiences we become increasingly capable of moving ourselves through different perspectives. We can stand in another person’s shoes and we can imagine ourselves in different places and times.
Perspective shifting is important for scuba diving skills, such as dive planning, effective communication and staying aware. The ability to shift between multiple perspectives is associated with empathy, and the ability to infer what another person is thinking. Flexibility of perspective shifting is also thought to impact on mental health, because if you can adjust your view you can look at things differently.
Meet multiple parts of yourself. See the world from many directions.
Dive! And live deeply.
Dr Laura Walton is a Clinical Psychologist and PADI IDC Staff Instructor with a fascination for the psychology of diving. Visit scubapsyche to learn more about our behaviour as divers.