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Freedivers Describe Using "Mind Over Matter" Technique To Hold Breath For A Long Time Period


Freediving, an awe-inspiring discipline that challenges the limits of human endurance, has captivated the imaginations of many. One of the most astonishing feats in freediving is the ability to hold one's breath for extraordinary lengths of time, often leaving us in wonder. Freedivers describe using "mind over matter" technique to hold breath for a long time period.

Freediving is a breathtaking journey into the depths of the human potential. The techniques employed in breath-holding are a harmonious blend of physiological adaptation, rigorous training, and mental resilience.

As freedivers explore the mysteries of the underwater world, they continuously push the boundaries of what the human body and mind can achieve. Freediving serves as a testament to the remarkable connection between humans and the ocean, where "mind over matter" enables us to unlock the secrets of the deep.

While there's a science to breath-holding, it's the mental aspect, the power of "mind over matter," that truly separates the masters of the deep from the rest. In this exploration, we delve into the secrets behind how freedivers employ mental techniques to push the boundaries of breath-holding endurance.

Understanding Freediving

Freediving is not just an extreme sport; it's an art form that hinges on the union of mind and body. At its core, it involves descending to substantial depths on a single breath, without the aid of scuba equipment. This requires exceptional breath-holding ability, which can be developed and honed over time.

Freediving, also known as apnea diving, encompasses a wide range of disciplines, from static apnea, where individuals hold their breath without movement, to dynamic apnea, which involves swimming underwater on a single breath.

Competitive freediving events often feature depth disciplines like constant weight, where divers descend to considerable depths. The allure of freediving lies in its unique blend of physical prowess, mental fortitude, and a deep connection with the underwater world, offering an unparalleled sense of freedom and exploration.

Before we delve into the mental aspects of freediving, it's essential to understand the physiological mechanisms at play. When a person holds their breath, the body undergoes various changes. The heart rate slows down, and blood is redistributed to essential organs like the brain and heart. Oxygen is primarily consumed by the brain, and carbon dioxide levels in the blood rise, triggering the urge to breathe.

The Mental Game - Mind Over Matter

A freediver has posted on social media how they approach exploring the ocean's depths without breathing equipment. Holding your breath while diving deep into a body of water is known as freediving.

The participant in this extreme art must hold their breath for extended periods of time while not carrying any oxygen on their back, unlike its sister sport, scuba diving.

Famous freedivers like Mirela Kardasevic and Herbert Nitsch have been known to drop hundreds of meters below the surface while holding their breath for several minutes.

Budimir Sobat, a Croatian freediver, currently holds the male record for the longest duration spent holding a breath underwater as of March 2021.

The 56-year-old from Sisak, Croatia, was able to stay underwater for an incredible 24 minutes, 37.36 seconds.

There are now 50,000 competitive freedivers worldwide, but many more are anticipated to participate in recreational diving, according to Apnealogy.

While The Deepest Breath, a critically praised Netflixdocumentary, has lately brought attention to the sometimes disastrous side effects of freediving, many people are still passionate about the activity and have described how they manage to perform amazing physical feats.

Freedivers describe using the "mind over matter" technique to hold their breath for a long time period. An experienced diver offered their tips in a Reddit discussion discussing diving horror stories.

They stated:

That’s the moment when you start to panic - and that’s the skill in freediving, getting to 160 feet and your brain is on the edge of panic. But you just relax and say ‘I’ll be fine’ - the majority of freediving is mind over matter.

They went on to claim that their old teacher thought that with the correct mindset, they could someday dive up to 200 feet in other parts of the base.

They answered, “I may try it one day,”

The same person also addressed how they believe other freedivers can best preserve their energy and maintain their air intake elsewhere in the discussion.

They noted, “When you’re freediving you come up slowly more to conserve energy and air. You haven’t breathed compressed air so you haven’t taken on much nitrogen (repetitive deep freedivers can get bent but it’s rare).”

They continued by stating that if you exit the water too quickly, there may be a significant surface pressure gradient.

“If you don’t have enough (sic) oxygen in your bloodstream when you come up sometimes your alveoli can rob O2 out of your bloodstream to keep the right lung balance, and make you pass out,”the statement continues.

In addition, they urged freedivers to "blow on people's lips and faces to bring them round" if they came across someone who had passed out while spending time underwater.

He continued, "I was in Menorca, down at 20m taking photos of an octopus, alone. I was probably down for 2 minutes or so and maybe overstayed my welcome."

He said he's lucky to be alive after getting into problems, freaking out, and passing out while rising to the surface.

He said in his conclusion:

I had passed out at 6m - the wind had resuscitated me when I got to the surface. If it hadn’t been windy, I would most likely have been dead, as the wind told my lips and the receptors that I was above the surface.

Training And Discipline

Becoming a proficient freediver is not just about having the right mental attitude; it also involves rigorous training and discipline. This includes breath-hold exercises, static apnea (holding one's breath without moving), dynamic apnea (underwater swimming on a single breath), and constant weight dives.

Breathing Techniques

Freedivers utilize various breathing techniques to optimize oxygen intake and carbon dioxide management. These techniques, often combined with meditation and relaxation, help them prepare for the breath-holding challenge.

Freediver jumping in ocean
Freediver jumping in ocean

Safety First

While freediving can be a beautiful and transcendent experience, it's not without risks. Freedivers must prioritize safety at all times. This includes having a trained buddy or dive partner, knowing their limits, and respecting the rules of safe diving.

You may have noticed that divers in the field always dive in pairs. The possible risks and hazards that diving alone presents apply to everyone. This is the ideal approach to push your limitations while remaining certain that your friend will be there for you if something were to go wrong or if you want to advance safely.

Freediving Techniques For Breath-holding

Freediving, the art of diving underwater on a single breath without the use of scuba gear, has captivated the human imagination for centuries. From ancient sponge divers to modern-day champions, freedivers have honed their skills and techniques to explore the ocean's depths with remarkable prowess.

At the heart of this awe-inspiring discipline lies the ability to hold one's breath for extended periods, an ability that is a blend of physiological adaptation, rigorous training, and mental fortitude. In this exploration, we delve into the fascinating world of freediving and uncover the techniques and practices that enable freedivers to unlock the secrets of breath-holding in the watery realms.

The Physiology Of Breath-Holding

Before delving into freediving techniques, it's essential to understand the physiological processes that occur during breath-holding. When a person holds their breath, a series of changes take place in the body to optimize oxygen utilization and manage carbon dioxide (CO2) buildup:

  • Bradycardia -Heart rate slows down to reduce oxygen consumption, with experienced freedivers sometimes achieving heart rates as low as 20-30 beats per minute.
  • Blood Shift -Blood is redirected from peripheral circulation to essential organs like the brain and heart to ensure a steady supply of oxygen.
  • Spleen Contraction -The spleen contracts, releasing stored red blood cells into circulation to carry oxygen.
  • CO2 Tolerance -The body's tolerance for elevated CO2 levels increases, allowing freedivers to delay the urge to breathe.

Understanding these physiological adaptations is crucial, as freediving techniques leverage these mechanisms to push the boundaries of breath-holding.

Techniques For Breath-Holding In Freediving

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing -Diaphragmatic or deep belly breathing is fundamental to preparing for a freedive. This technique involves inhaling deeply through the nose, allowing the diaphragm to descend, and filling the lungs completely. Exhalation should be slow and controlled. Diaphragmatic breathing maximizes oxygen intake and minimizes air wastage.
  • Purge Breathing- Before the dive, some freedivers use purge breaths to expel residual CO2 from their lungs. This involves forcefully exhaling and inhaling deeply several times. Purge breaths help reduce the initial CO2 load in the lungs.
  • Frenzel Maneuver -The Frenzel maneuver is a critical skill in equalizing pressure during descent. It involves closing the glottis, moving the tongue to pressurize the air in the mouth, and using throat muscles to push air into the middle ear. This technique helps prevent barotrauma.
  • Mouthfill -In some advanced freediving disciplines, such as free immersion and constant weight, freedivers use a mouthful of air to equalize ear pressure during descent. This technique requires skill and practice.
  • CO2 Tables -CO2 tables are training exercises that gradually increase CO2 levels in the body to improve CO2 tolerance. These tables involve breath-holding and controlled breathing intervals, simulating the conditions of a freedive.
  • Static Apnea Training -Static apnea, the discipline of holding one's breath without moving, is an essential training component. It helps improve breath-holding times and mental conditioning. Static apnea sessions are monitored to ensure safety.
  • Dynamic Apnea -Dynamic apnea involves swimming underwater on a single breath. It enhances endurance and overall breath-holding capacity while in motion. Freedivers often incorporate underwater swimming into their training routines.
  • Meditation and Visualization -Mental preparation is as crucial as physical training in freediving. Meditation and visualization techniques help calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and instill confidence. Freedivers often visualize successful dives and focus on relaxation.
  • Breath-Hold Drills- Regular breath-hold drills involve timing and breath-holding exercises to gauge progress and track improvements in breath-holding times.
  • Safety Protocols -Safety is paramount in freediving. Freedivers should always have a trained buddy or dive partner present during sessions, especially during deep dives. The buddy system ensures immediate assistance in case of blackout or other emergencies.

Training And Progression

Freedivers progress through various levels of training and certification to develop their skills and increase breath-holding times. Training often begins in a pool, where conditions are controlled and safe. As divers gain experience and confidence, they may progress to open-water training and deeper dives. Each level of training introduces new techniques and challenges, building upon the fundamentals.

Breath-Holding Records And Achievements

Freedivers have achieved astonishing feats in the pursuit of breath-holding records. Static apnea records, which involve immobile breath-holding, have exceeded 11 minutes. Dynamic apnea records have seen swimmers cover significant distances in a single breath. Constant weight dives have explored ocean depths beyond 100 meters.

While freediving is a captivating and rewarding endeavor, it carries inherent risks, particularly at extreme depths. Blackouts, barotrauma, and hypoxia are potential dangers. Proper training, adherence to safety protocols, and gradual progression are vital to minimizing risks.

Freediver in ocean
Freediver in ocean


How Do Freedivers Hold Their Breath For Extended Periods?

Freedivers use a combination of mental techniques, breath-hold exercises, and physiological adaptations to extend their breath-holding times.

Are There Risks Associated With Freediving?

Yes, freediving carries risks, including hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and blackout. Safety precautions and proper training are crucial.

What Are Some Common Mental Strategies For Freedivers?

Freedivers use meditation, visualization, and positive self-talk to calm their minds and control panic responses during breath-holding.

Are There Specific Breathing Techniques For Freediving?

Yes, freedivers use techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and controlled exhales to optimize oxygen intake and manage carbon dioxide levels.


Freediving is a remarkable discipline that showcases the extraordinary capabilities of the human body and mind. Behind the mesmerizing performances of freedivers lies an intricate tapestry of training, discipline, and mental fortitude. Some freedivers describe using the "mind over matter" technique to hold their breath for a long time period.

The power of "mind over matter" is not just a saying in the world of freediving; it's a way of life that allows individuals to explore the depths of the ocean, challenge their limits, and transcend the ordinary. So, the next time you witness a freediver hold their breath for a staggering amount of time, remember that it's not just their body but their mind that's taken them to new and breathtaking depths.

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About The Authors

Scarlet Sunset

Scarlet Sunset- Scarlet Sunset is a captivating and confident transgender individual who radiates sensuality and embraces her unique beauty. With a radiant smile and a touch of red lipstick, she captivates hearts by the poolside as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow on her unforgettable presence. Despite societal norms and expectations, Scarlet celebrates her body, proudly defying conventional standards of beauty. Her curves tell a story of self-acceptance and empowerment, challenging stereotypes and inspiring others to embrace their own bodies without reservation.

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