How to Calm Your Nerves Before Skydiving

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Congratulations!! You’ve decided to take the first step in fighting your fears and experiencing the beautiful thrill of skydiving. Go you! 

As the day approaches, you might find yourself grappling with a familiar foe: nervousness. If you’re feeling nervous about skydiving, don’t worry, you’re not alone in that feeling. Honestly, we’d be a bit concerned if you DIDN’T feel a mix of excitement and anxiety before your first jump. Having some ‘skydiving for the first time’ anxiety is perfectly normal and expected! Fret not, dear reader, we’ve got some effective strategies to help calm your nerves before embarking on your skydiving adventure.

Understanding Skydiving Anxiety

woman attached to tandem skydiving instructor

Before we dive into techniques to ease your nerves, let’s take a moment to understand where these anxious feelings come from and why you might be experiencing a fear of skydiving. Fear can come from a multitude of places that are not one in the same for everyone. Everyone’s story is unique and that fearful feeling can be based on one or several reasons. Whatever the reason, acknowledging your apprehension is the first step towards overcoming it. Here are some common fears associated with skydiving:

  • Fear of Heights: Skydiving happens at higher altitudes, usually at or above 8,000 feet above ground level (AGL). So if you have acrophobia, or a fear of heights, you may feel yourself repelling away from the idea of jumping out of an airplane. Again, it is totally normal to have a healthy fear of heights. It’s simply a survival instinct – good news, you’re alive!
  • Fear of the Unknown: Any time you do something that you haven’t done before, you may feel a bit of anxiety – meeting new friends, job interviews, starting a hobby. All of these uncertainties can have you feeling out of control of your destiny. But in reality, that’s where the beauty lies! We’ll explain more later.
  • Performance Anxiety: Commonly called “stage fright,” performance anxiety is the fear of not being able to perform well and can trigger a fight-or-flight response.

How to Calm Your Nerves Before Skydiving

  1. Breathe

Begin by taking slow, deliberate breaths to activate your body’s relaxation response. Inhale deeply through your nose, feel your belly expand as your lungs fill up with air, hold for a moment, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process several times to calm your nervous system and promote a sense of serenity.

  1. Visualization

Harness the scientifically proven power of visualization to mentally prepare for your jump. Envision yourself having the time of your life while freefalling through the clouds, feel the wind rush against your skin, and the beautiful world all around you while floating gracefully under canopy. Put yourself in the moment immediately following your skydive – feel the euphoria and sense of accomplishment rush over you. Picturing a successful jump can help alleviate skydiving anxiety and instill a sense of confidence.

  1. Physical Activity

When anxious feelings overcome you, adrenaline starts pumping and your heart gets going – that energy can sometimes feel like it’s going to explode out of you. Engaging in some light physical activity prior to your jump can disperse some of that nervous energy and enhance your overall mood, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Try not to overdo it though! Yoga, or stretching, and even going for a brisk walk are some examples of exercises you can partake in before taking on the skies.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Do your best to stay grounded in the present moment as much as possible by practicing mindfulness techniques. Focus on the breath entering your body, spiraling down to your lungs, filling you up with goodness, and leaving your body – allowing yourself to let go of any anxious thoughts and cultivating a sense of calm. Connect with your senses and surroundings throughout the experience. What do you see? What do you smell? Hear? Taste? Be here now.

  1. Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are a great way to build a resilient mindset. Choose your own affirmation or research some positive words to repeat to yourself as you make your way through your skydiving journey. Here are a few examples:

  • “I am fully prepared and capable of embracing this adventure.”
  • “I trust in the expertise of my instructor and the reliability of the equipment.”
  • “I am eager to conquer my fears and soar to new heights.”

aff skydiving student deploys parachute

How to Prepare for Skydiving

Another great way to calm your pre-skydiving anxiety is by preparing for what is to come, in hopes of curbing that ‘fear of the unknown’ we talked about earlier. While we can’t necessarily eliminate all of the unexpected feelings and sensations – we can prepare our brains and bodies by doing research on what to expect on your first skydive and reading articles just like this one!

  1. Understand the Skydiving Process

Your first time doing anything can be a bit nerve wracking, especially for those who don’t necessarily enjoy being spontaneous. However, if you know what to expect, you can better prepare your body for what is to come. Check out our blog post, “5 Things to Expect During Your First Tandem Skydiving” to get a better idea of what to expect on your special day. On the day of your skydive, do your best to trust the process. You got this!

  1. Research Statistics

Skydiving is pretty commonly misunderstood across the board, rumors and myths can ruin a good experience. Try best to steer clear of false information and only get information from reliable sources such as our website or the United States Parachute Association (USPA) – especially when it comes to researching skydiving safety statistics. Knowing the facts is a great way to keep yourself grounded in truth rather than focusing on the fear of rare skydiving

  1. Visit the Dropzone Beforehand

Feel free to come on out and pay us a visit before your big day – we love visitors! We can show you around, take a look at the gear you’ll be using, meet the instructors and even talk to other skydivers and crew. This is a great time to ask questions and watch other tandem skydivers land from their exhilarating jumps! Familiarizing yourself with a new place can help you feel more comfortable when it comes time to do the real thing.

  1. Ask Questions

We are in the business of skydiving, dealing with high emotions is kinda our job! We get it, skydiving is a big deal and we treat each individual journey as such. Our instructors have tons of experience and have a way of making our guests feel comfortable every step of the way. Please do not hold back if you have any questions, no matter how silly you think it is, ask away! And please communicate if you’re feeling any certain way at any point during the skydive so that we can help you feel more comfortable. We want what you want – and that’s to have an amazing, comfortable, and successful skydive!

Still feeling scared of skydiving? No worries – we are here to help! Contact our dropzone and we will do our best to accommodate you and help you along your journey. And when you’re ready, come jump with us at Oklahoma Skydiving! Blue skies, brave one!

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