When you reach your target depth, whichever it is, it usually means that you are perfectly in the moment during that process. And then you don’t remember much of what happened during the dive, especially of the thoughts that filled your brain. So, "are you really in control of your thoughts at -117m"? This is what we asked French deep freediver Thibault Guignes.

Automated Actions

I usually spread my attention on all parameters during my deep dives. Equalization, freefall, relaxation, feeling of the water on my skin, feelings in my body, urge to breathe etc… All these parameters become just information that is processed on a more or less unconscious level. Every action is automated, forged by many repetitions. Even when reaching the bottom, I have this thought that I reached the bottom. But it is a very neutral thought. Just a piece of information that does not trigger emotions at that moment. And this is true for most of my deep dives. When I start actually thinking during the dive, it is not a good sign. That means I did not manage to reach this flow state, and in that case, it is unlikely I will reach such depth as 117m.

No Place For Thoughts

I would say that in terms of thoughts, the difficulty of 117m or of any big number, is more to control your thoughts before the dive than to control your thoughts during the dive. That includes the days leading to the competition. While diving, there is no space for conscious thoughts. You filled already your mind with all the parameters. Actually, I do not want to leave a place for thoughts. They are not useful in a deep dive. I already know everything I have to do, and I already know how to react if something happens. Therefore, before the dive, I try to recreate this state of flow, where my mind is filled with what is happening at the moment, controlling my thoughts in the process. I usually focus on my breathing to do so. I just need to be careful not to hyperventilate. It is actually not so easy to keep a normal breathing pattern while observing it. We usually tend to breathe slightly deeper. Now that my mind is filled with the observation of my breathing, there is no more room for negative thoughts, anxiety or any kind of internal dialogue (Pleasant or not) that would use my energy and bring nothing to my dive.


Now, for sure, thoughts or not, you are subjected to strong narcosis at these depths, so if there is a thought process, it is probably slow and laborious. If during the dives, there is no room for me to think, when in training I practice deep hangs, I have time to think at the bottom and to feel the narcosis very strongly. I can definitely feel during these deep hangs that my thoughts process is becoming slower and more laborious. Some things that should not make sense do, and sometimes the opposite. 
To keep the control despite narcosis, I started counting during my deep hangs. It gives me something to process and to focus and that helps with the narcosis. But it is not something you want to do during a deep dive as you have many parameters to handle.

A Word Of Advice

Overall I would advise not to be scared of your thoughts or to be looking for controlling them perfectly during deep dives. Just make sure you fill your mind with being in the moment and there should be no more room for negative thoughts during the dive or at the bottom.

Watch Thibault Freedive The Arch At Dahab
With His Alchemy V330