Right on Elbert!! Many, many years ago, as a new diver, I went to St. Martin and upon my backroll, got my mask messed up, which led to a little surface panic. That's what the DM kept saying to me, "just look down, just look down". Once I was able to hear him, I did look down and everything was so peaceful. Suddenly, I could remember how to clear my mask and all my other training. I had a quite lovely dive.
Since then, I've told others to do the same, if they were having problems or nerves. On the rare occasion that I feel a bit of tension on the surface these days, I just remind myself, all I have to do is look down. Even if I don't look down, the mere idea that I know, is enough.