Flying without Fear

November 30, 2016

The following article was written by Nick Wake, Marketing Director of iFLY UK. While his primary audience was meant for first time flyers, the message remains true to flyers of all levels. As you begin to try more difficult and seemingly scary skills, or enter your first competition, or are even stepping up to compete at the world level, anxiety can take its toll on your performance. So what can you do to combat these feelings? Read on!

One of the most common issues we deal with at iFLY Indoor Skydiving is that of fear. It is both one of the concerns that some first-time flyers have….and ironically one of the reasons they come to us in the first place. The fear of jumping out of a plane is simply too much to handle. Floating on air is something completely different.

Of course, indoor skydiving is super safe and one of the most common reasons that people don’t want to jump out of a plane – fear of heights – simply doesn’t come into play. But we do recognize that some customers get a little nervous, especially the younger ones. After all, this is a completely new experience and a little anxiety before you do something completely new is totally natural. Fortunately, our instructors are highly skilled at recognizing anxiety and handling the fear factor appropriately. There’s also nothing like watching someone go before you and come out with the most enormous beaming smiling, high fiving everyone around them, to help conquer that nervousness in a flash!

Anxiety affects us all in our everyday lives and there is lots of great advice out there, in terms of how to cope with it. One simple approach is to use the AWARE technique, as described by experienced therapist Mark Tyrell:

A: Accept the anxiety. Don't try to fight it.

W: Watch the anxiety. Just watch it and when you notice it, scale your level of fear and start to breathe longer on the out-breath.

A: Stands for 'Act normally'. Carry on talking or behaving as if nothing is different. This sends a powerful signal to your unconscious mind that its over-dramatic response is not needed because nothing that unusual is going on. Like fire fighters coming out and seeing that no emergency is happening and so going back to the fire station.

R: Repeat the above steps in your mind if necessary.

E: Expect the best. One of the greatest feelings in life is the realization that you can control fear much more than you thought possible.

Try this approach the next time you are at your edge and see how your confidence increases. And don't worry, an experienced IBA Instructor will always have your back!