Heart palpitations, rapid breathing, racing thoughts– has skydiving anxiety got you feeling on edge? First off, your feelings are completely valid, and if truth be told, quite reassuring actually. If you weren’t nervous about skydiving, then we’d be concerned! Look, you’re jumping from an aircraft in flight, and it’s a big deal. But! And this is a BIG but, skydiving anxiety, like general anxiety, often makes a mountain out of a molehill. So, what is there to be done about skydiving anxiety?
As it is for so many new unknowns, a little bit of preparation will help quell the tide of question marks and set you up for a greater likelihood of success. Our FAQs pretty succinctly cover the physical ways to prepare for skydiving but leave a little bit to be desired when it comes to the mental aspect of skydiving. So, to help diminish your skydiving anxiety here is how to mentally prepare for skydiving.
Pre-Jump Skydiving Anxiety
The second you set up your reservation your mind went into overdrive. Here are ways to mentally prepare for skydiving and handle that first-time anxiety before your jump.
1. Visit the Dropzone
If you are able, take a trip to the dropzone before your scheduled skydive. Sit and observe. Take it all in. Introduce yourself to the staff, ask questions, and maybe even chat with some of the folks who’ve just landed from their first jump. From this visit, you’ll get a feel for the vibe of the place, and the more you become accustomed to seeing those smiling faces walking in from the landing area the more you’ll realize this is supposed to be fun!
Before your jump, check out videos of the type of skydiving you will be doing. The benefit of this venture is two-fold. One, you’ll get a sense of what to expect and a feel for the process of skydiving. Two, you can use the videos to visualize. Put yourself in the shoes of the person jumping and allow yourself to imagine the experience. While it may sound silly, this kind of visualization is utilized by professional athletes all the time.
3. Don’t Forget the Physical
The mind-body connection is quite strong. That being said, one of the ways to mentally prepare for skydiving is to make sure you take care of your body too! Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before your skydive and avoid indulging in alcohol. On the day of the jump, be sure to eat a healthy moderate breakfast and bring along snacks. Most of all: don’t forget to hydrate! Keeping your body feeling tip-top can do a great deal to keep your mind feeling top-notch too!
Real-time Skydiving Anxiety
It’s all well and good to mentally prepare to fight skydiving anxiety ahead of time, but what are you to do when skydiving anxiety strikes during your skydive?
This piece of sage advice is by far the most basic, and, yet, it is the most difficult. Atmospherically speaking, the air is thinner at skydiving altitude, and so, you will need to breathe more deeply. Psychologically speaking, focusing on your inhales and exhales will help to reign in your racing thoughts. While you take deep slow breaths, you can also employ this little handy mindfulness trick. It’s called 3-3-3. As you begin to feel skydiving anxiety, take a look around and name to yourself three things that you see. Then, list to yourself three sounds that you hear. Finally, pick three parts of your body and move them one at a time. When your mind starts moving a mile a minute, this will help to slow everything down.
One of the best things you can do on a skydive is listen. Your skydiving instructor is a trained professional, and it’s likely you’re not the first person with skydiving anxiety that they have taken. Your instructor will usually point out interesting sights during the plane ride and will go over what you need to do on the jump before you exit. Sometimes, your instructor will even tell a few jokes to lighten the mood, and guess what? It’s okay to laugh. Try not to get so wrapped up in your head that you are unable to process the information that they give you. Be sure to take a moment and listen.
3. Fact Check Yourself
When in the throes of skydiving anxiety, it can be easy to fixate on the worst-case scenario. If this happens, pause and consider how realistic or unrealistic the thoughts are. Re-frame your fears with logic. The skydiving statistics speak for themselves. Over the last ten years, on average, there has been one student fatality per 500,000 jumps. Statistically, that is .0002% chance. Comparatively speaking, you’re more likely to die by getting struck by lightning. How’s that for a fact check?
The only thing holding you back is you. Don’t let first time anxiety have control. You can do this, and you better believe we’ll be ready and waiting when you are.
Ready to schedule or have any questions? Feel free to give us a call.