5 Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Heights

Monday, August 29, 2022

When you skydive with WNY Skydiving, you’ll jump out of a plane that is between 10,000 and 14,000 feet above the ground!! If you’re afraid of heights, then that tidbit of information probably has you wide-eyed right about now. Before you think skydiving is not for you, peep this: there are a lot of skydivers who have a fear of heights! It’s understandable if you’re skeptical, but it’s true. Being scared of heights is a very common fear, so it makes sense that a good percentage of people who skydive feel this way. Let’s explore acrophobia and how skydiving may be part of your solution on how to conquer your fear of heights!

What Does Fear of Heights Feel Like?

When you have a real phobia of something like heights, then that fear can present with both physical and psychological symptoms. Your fear of heights might be activated when you are just a little high up or maybe it doesn’t bother you until you are a significant distance above the ground, but you probably feel physical symptoms like: 

  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Chest tightness
  • Increased heart rate

And that’s not all! Psychological symptoms can appear too, which include: a panic feeling, an aversion to heights, and excessive anxiety about high-up places. There’s no magical cure for acrophobia, but we’ll give you some ideas on how to cope with your fear of heights so you can really enjoy your skydive.

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How to Overcome Fear of Heights

If you’re afraid of heights, all is not lost… you can overcome that fear and still have a wonderful skydive! If you follow these five tips, you should be able to conquer the skies. But honestly, when you go skydiving, you are so high up in the sky that there is no depth perception; everything kind of just looks like a map below you!!

1. Understand Your Fear

Fear isn’t logical. Even when you’re in a fairly safe situation, your mind and body can be riddled with anxiety. Once you feel afraid, it can become difficult to think rationally, but you can counteract this by making a conscious effort to reason with yourself. By knowing what causes you to feel scared, and being aware of how your body reacts when your fear of heights is triggered, you can look at the situation more rationally. 

So if you’re going up in the plane to skydive and you feel yourself start to get nervous as you fly higher, remember that safety statistics are on your side when it comes to flying and skydiving, and the fear you’re feeling is more of an emotional response and not necessarily reality.

2. Prepare Yourself

Being prepared before you get sky-high can help you to not feel as afraid of the excessive height as you otherwise would. You can get ready for an experience like skydiving by imagining ahead of time how you will feel in the situation, and picturing actions that you can take to feel better. Think about being in the plane on the way up to altitude, standing at the door, jumping out of the plane, and freefall… how do you expect to feel during those times? Visualizing the scenario in advance can help you to normalize the experience and not feel as nervous when the time comes.

3. Gradual Exposure

You don’t have to go right from ground level to more than two miles up! Sometimes it can be helpful to build your tolerance of heights slowly. For example, you could start getting more comfortable with heights by climbing ladders or hiking to the top of cliffs. It’s better to push through your fears at your own pace, and not try to rush progress.

4. Practice Relaxing

Rehearsing your relaxation techniques ahead of time can help you to feel more comfortable facing heights because in doing so you will be able to remember the techniques easily when you need them. There are a lot of physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat and quick breathing that accompany fear and can encourage panicky feelings. By knowing how to resolve your worries, such as with deep breathing, you can minimize your negative feelings, keep panic at bay, and become more relaxed.

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack

Don’t be upset with yourself if you don’t just get over your fear of heights instantly. It can take a decent amount of time to work through your fears. Instead, be proud of yourself for making progress!

There’s no urgency to make your first jump, so book your tandem when you’re ready – and definitely get the video and catch yourself doing the extraordinary! If you have questions in the meantime, reach out – we’re here to support you. Blue skies!

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