How To Manage Skydiving Anxiety

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How to Manage Skydiving Anxiety

Does the very thought of making a skydive cause your pulse to quicken almost immediately? If that’s you, then you probably have some anxiety about making a skydive which is completely normal. Truth be told, we get a little anxious when our guests feel no fear at all. Skydiving is an event unlike any other and it’s not without risk, so it’s natural to feel nervous or for some, downright terrified. 

You could say we’re fear experts, so in this article, we’ll share some valuable techniques to help conquer your skydiving fears whether it be your first jump or 500th (licensed skydivers feel anxious too). 

REDUCE THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

A big part of the anxiety one feels about skydiving is the fear of the unknown, so why not take some of the unknown out of the equation? We recommend visiting the dropzone and simply observing without the pressure of having to jump. Talk to people before and after their jumps, meet the staff, get a sense of the vibe. Just seeing people walking in from the landing area smiling ear to ear and pumping their fists will build your confidence! You’ll quickly learn that the people skydiving are just like you or in many cases, much older than you are and yet, they are loving their experience. 

 

It will dawn on you – if they can do it… you can do it too!

A man gives a thumbs up while flying at Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving

For those that would like to get a sense of what free fall actually feels like (it’s quite hard to explain) then an indoor skydiving experience may be your next step. While indoor skydiving cannot replicate the adrenaline rush experienced from exiting an airplane, it will give you a good sense of what free fall will feel like sans the beautiful scenery. There are two indoor skydiving wind tunnels in close proximity to Skydive Carolina:  iFly Charlotte, and Paraclete XP (which is one of the largest wind tunnels in the world and the largest in the US). 

VISUALIZATION

The best athletes in the world (including skydivers) use visualization as part of their preparation for competition. Taking time to visualize the experience goes a long way in helping you prepare for the event. Watch tandem skydiving (or the kind of jump you’ll be making) videos to get a sense of the experience and then visualize yourself in the picture. You may find that your heart begins to race, but don’t fight that feeling – contrary to how you may feel, this is actually a good thing! Your body will experience what’s known as “fight or flight” when the door of the aircraft opens; this is natural and it’s good to visualize yourself in that state and working through it. 

It is said that our dreams are on the other side of our fears – it’s a great quote because it’s so true. Once you exit through the door of the aircraft and passed your fears, it’s magic from there. Fear turns to adulation and you’ll be so thrilled that you made the decision to jump! 

BREATHE

Breathe. Focus on your breath and take deep, controlled breaths. Deep breath in and a nice long release out. Nice and slow. Stay in the moment and breathe. 

Again, this is what the world’s top athletes are doing in the midst of high pressure situations during competition. To be your best, you cannot be in a panicked state of mind but a calm state even in the midst of what appears to the outsider as total chaos. 

Whether you’re about to deliver a speech in front of a room full of people or if you’re about to exit a plane, breathing is paramount to get through those stressful situations! 

SLOW DOWN

In high-pressure situations, it can be instinctive to want to rush – your challenge is to do the contrary and this can be accomplished byway of your visualization. Slow, things down and focus on your breathing. Staying in the present is key as opposed to feeling overwhelmed due to thinking about the entire experience as a whole. 

YOU CAN DO THIS

Using positive affirmation is also an important technique. Speak negatively and you’ll be negative. The opposite of this is true – speak positively to yourself – you can do this! 

Skydiving isn’t a normal activity. In fact, skydiving makes no sense at all until you do it. Society (and many of your friends) will tell you that skydiving is a crazy thing to do because you are taking risks that are preventable (and this fact is true), but it’s important to recognize that everyone’s aversion to risk is different. The majority of people who skydive feel that the risk is manageable especially considering the rewards one feels when staring at something they’re fearful of and conquering that fear. You can do this and it’s worth it!

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