Nervous about skydiving? For starters, we’re here to tell you that it is completely normal to feel fearful or nervous about your first-time skydiving experience. Whether you have a fear of heights or general anxiety about the unknowns of skydiving, here are 5 tips on how to prepare for skydiving and overcome any skydiving anxiety you may be having before or during your jump.
Sweaty palms, weak knees, racing thoughts, and rapid breathing – these are all typical signs of anxiety creeping in and reminding you that you are a human experiencing life! These signs and symptoms are usually seen and felt when you’re about to do something you’ve never done before, like jumping from a perfectly good airplane! Just like any other new experience, a little bit of preparation will help keep your mind from navigating the rolodex of uncertainties and set you up for a greater chance of success.
Curbing your skydiving anxiety starts right after you schedule your tandem skydive. You’re committed now, the pressure is on! There are some ways to help get you through those feelings of uncertainty, and that’s what we’re here for: to help overcome skydiving anxiety from the moment it starts to bubble up.
The moment you book your skydiving reservation, butterflies start fluttering in your stomach. There is plenty of information out there on how to physically prepare for skydiving – but how does one mentally prepare?
Researching information and watching videos of other people skydiving is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for skydiving. This may sound silly, but hear us out, visualize yourself going on a skydive. Putting yourself in the shoes of the person going skydiving can help your body prepare for what to expect and feel during the skydiving process. This technique is used by many professionals.
Research the dropzone you’ll be jumping at to get an idea of where you’ll be and what amenities will be available to you. If you can, making a trip out to the dropzone before your scheduled skydive can help you get more comfortable in a new environment. Meet the staff, talk to the instructors, watch other people skydive, and see their reactions afterward!
The golden rule for relaxing: just breathe! Breathing is scientifically proven to help calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure, and heart rate, and reduce the levels of stress hormones in the blood by increasing the oxygen supply to your brain. Breathing helps you feel connected to your body when you are feeling out of control and retracts the focus away from the worries in your mind.
Try taking slow deep breaths in through your nose, feel your belly expand, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the mouth. Sometimes focusing on external objects or other distractions can help reign in anxiety – chat it up with your instructor, let it out with a righteous scream, or read the interesting stickers you might see on skydivers’ helmets. You got this!
Your skydiving instructor is a highly-trained professional … you can say this isn’t their first rodeo, and it’s very likely that you aren’t the first nervous passenger on the plane. Let them know how you’re feeling! Most instructors have found unique ways to help you stay cool, calm, and collected. Don’t hesitate to lean on your instructor for support and guidance. After all, they will be going on this adventure with you. Try to keep an open mind and don’t forget to crack a smile or a laugh every now and then.
Don’t be surprised if you have a moment of, “Wait, I don’t want to do this!” In those moments, try to remind yourself of all the rewards you’ll get from skydiving, how it can change your life, and all the benefits you’ll receive from going through with this.
The truth is, the height of your anxiety won’t last past the airplane door. As soon as you exit the plane, all of those worried feelings just disappear and that’s when you’ll experience the freedom of skydiving. Remind yourself why you wanted to go skydiving in the first place. We promise it’s worth it!
When succumbing to skydiving anxiety, it’s hard to resist imagining the worst-case scenario and every possibility. If this happens to you, try to remember the hard facts and statistics about tandem skydiving. The best way to combat your fears is with logic – how likely is that scenario you just imagined? Per the United States Parachute Association (USPA), tandem skydiving has a safety rate of one student fatality per 500,000 jumps on average over the past 10 years. So reign in your thoughts and sit with what you know for sure.
Don’t let your skydiving anxiety overcome you, empower yourself and embrace the challenge – you are in control! Show your anxiety who’s boss and book your skydive with the premier place to skydive in Western New York – WNY Skydiving. Blue skies.