What Is Thalassophobia And How To Overcome It

Does the thought of going to the beach make you panic? Do you get nervous just by seeing the sea? Are you afraid of getting too close to the shore of the beach and that the water could reach your feet? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may probably be feeling quite uncomfortable and misunderstood, but don’t worry, this problem affects more people than you can imagine and it has its name, it is called thalassophobia. But what is thalassophobia and how to overcome it? Thalassophobia is the intense and exaggerated fear of the sea. People who suffer from this phobia are afraid of even imagining what is under water and of seeing images where a large body of water appears. Of course, for them it is unimaginable to bathe on the beach, just get close to the shore and/or dare to travel by boat. Luckily, this condition has a solution and the person who suffers from it can eliminate it completely and better enjoy a vacation on the beach, for example, or going on a cruise trip. Simply fighting this phobia and eliminating it will allow the person to have a better quality of life by acquiring greater confidence and security in themselves.

This is why at PsychologyFor, we invite you to learn more about What is thalassophobia and how to overcome it.

What are the symptoms of a person with thalassophobia?

The people that have fear of the sea or thalassophobia present a series of characteristic symptoms that identify them. Among them are the following:

  • They are aware that their fear of the sea is irrational, but they have the feeling that they cannot do anything to control it.
  • They may have physical reactions such as sweating, palpitations, nausea, oral dehydration, among others, generated by the anxiety caused by being near the sea and even seeing an image of a large body of water.
  • Fear of what is under the water. They panic when they think about the animals that exist deep down.
  • They avoid going to the beach, since just approaching the shore and feeling the water on their feet causes them a lot of discomfort.
  • They may have difficulty speaking and/or thinking clearly when they are near the sea and even in more serious situations, it happens when they see images or videos about the sea.
  • They are afraid of traveling by boat.

What is thalassophobia and how to overcome it - What are the symptoms of a person with thalassophobia

Thalassophobia: causes

The main reasons why a person may be afraid of the sea is because they have lived bad experiences in the past. Probably, in childhood and even in other stages of life, the person has experienced a difficult situation at sea that has caused a lot of fear and shock. For example, being swimming on the beach and having been swept away by the tide, being on the verge of drowning, having suffered a storm on board a boat, etc. Some people may even have begun to develop this fear because they have witnessed a situation where another person was in danger in the sea or seen a movie where there were sharks or animals in the water that attacked people.

Another possible reason why thalassophobia can occur is because of lack of information about the sea and/or what exists in the deep sea, so the person gets the wrong idea about what can be found in the sea and generalizes it. For example, he may think that dangerous animals can be found on the beach, even in the shallow parts.

How to overcome thalassophobia


An important step to begin to overcome the fear of the sea is to find out everything about it. We must take into account that not all of them are the same, each one has different characteristics, such as temperature, waves, marine animals (take into account the depth at which they are found), among many other things that it is necessary to know to eliminate any wrong ideas we have.

Relaxation techniques

There are a series of relaxation techniques that you can carry out to prepare yourself to overcome thalassophobia. Next, we will explain one of them that you can easily learn and practice at home.

  • Diaphragmatic breathing: Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing is a technique that is used to control anxiety, stress and to learn to relax. It is very simple to learn and you can practice it this way: first, inhale slowly and deeply and feel how your abdomen swells, hold the air for between 5 and 10 seconds and then exhale slowly, taking the air out through your mouth. You can repeat this operation as many times as you consider necessary until you feel calmer, doing it slowly and calmly so that you do not have hyperventilation. You can do it sitting or standing wherever you are. In this case, you can do it when you are physically close to the sea, on board a boat and/or only by imagining or looking at a related image that causes anxiety.

Exhibitions in the imagination

You can perform exposure techniques in the imagination that will help you start curing thalassophobia. Something you can do is, in a quiet place, sitting or lying down, you close your eyes and first begin to imagine that you are on a beach, but you observe it from afar, you imagine the sound of the sea, the smell of the breeze that reaches you where you are, the color of the sea, etc., as real as possible and once you begin to experience uncomfortable physical reactions, you try to relax through the exercise of diaphragmatic breathing, feeling how they gradually begin to disappear those feelings of anxiety that you experience.

Once you have noticed that your body is less tense, you continue with another situation that causes you more fear, for example, where you are near the shore of the beach, etc. This will help you prepare for when you have to physically face the sea.

Progressive exhibitions

After having exposed yourself to the sea through your imagination and noticing that your anxiety has decreased, you can begin to progressively expose yourself physically. You can ask a friend or family member to accompany you as you gradually get closer to the shore of the beach and at the same time do your relaxation exercises. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t do everything in a single day, this can take weeks or even months, the important thing is to be consistent.


In case your fear is too intense, you feel that you cannot overcome it alone and you would like to eliminate it, you can always choose to go to a professional that can help you. This treatment is similar to that of other types of phobias where the therapist will inform you everything about your condition, they will analyze the causes for which it originated and will begin to carry out a program to reduce this fear. It is common to use psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring (to eliminate irrational beliefs and modify them with more adaptive ones), relaxation exercises, visualization and gradual exposure to the feared object.

What is thalassophobia and how to overcome it - How to overcome thalassophobia

This article is merely informative, at PsychologyFor we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is thalassophobia and how to overcome it we recommend that you enter our Clinical Psychology category.

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