The Psychological Benefits of Skydiving

Friday, August 14, 2020

Life is filled with unexpected surprises. Just like that cautious first bite of sushi which turns out to be surprisingly delicious, skydiving offers an unexpected revelation. It’s not what you thought it would be. It’s so much better. When people think about skydiving, adjectives like adrenaline, speed, adventure, and fear are what many think it’s all about and they’re right, but the adjectives are superficial. There is a depth to skydiving that affects the psychology of how we think and feel and for some, it changes the trajectory of their lives entirely. (It did for us).

The best skydiving in the Midwest – A group shot of the staff at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Milwaukee, WI

It’s not hyperbole. In our 24+ years of operating, we’ve witnessed transformations of people who arrive at our facility with a specific viewpoint that’s often changed after landing. Before jumping they may ask questions like, “what type of person would go skydiving? or “why would I go skydiving?! But afterward, they see the world with a completely different perspective that poses questions like: “Am I getting enough out of life?” or “If I can jump out of a plane, what can’t I achieve?” These questions are important as it pushes one to expand and live a more full life. Some will even say that skydiving is like a spiritual experience because of the ‘awakening’ that occurs. 

If you’ve skydived, everything above resonates. If you’ve not yet jumped then what we’re describing may appear to be over the top. To understand it is to experience it.

Empowerment Through Vulnerability

We use the word empowerment because it’s a word that simplifies the complicated emotions one feels after landing from a skydive. It’s a feeling of great strength that comes from being vulnerable. 

This makes sense when you consider that many of us go through life in a defensive or reactionary way because of how we respond to our worries, fears and insecurities. We all have a facade which thinly covers something that lays below the surface, and skydiving strips the facade away which to some, is more scary than sitting in the open door of an airplane ready to leap. But there is power in vulnerability and when one sits in the open door of a plane, our cover is blown and we are exposed. All the trivial stuff we worry about no longer matters, and we are faced with only one decision: Do you move towards the fear or do you let the fear consume you? 

When you decide to move towards the fear, you become empowered. When people release ego, insecurity, burdens, stress and move towards the thing they are scared of and then love the experience… that’s transformational! George Addair’s quote, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear,” couldn’t be more accurate. The physical act of skydiving is actually enjoyable, but the process of working through the fear of leaving the safety of the plane is where the enlightenment happens! It’s the delicious taste of sushi that opens up a palette to a whole new world beyond the food choices you’ve been making your entire life! 

 

The Effects of Skydiving On the Brain

If you’ve spent any time watching the many #BoTalks interviews our owner Bo Babovic has conducted, you’ll see that skydiving is like a therapy of sorts. We have spoken with clinical psychologists who can’t prescribe skydiving due to the issues of liability, but they acknowledge that the chemistry that occurs inside the brain during a skydive is not unlike what occurs when strong medication is used to treat depression. You could say it’s ecstasy without the use of any man-made chemical! 

Adrenaline is pumping after a tandem skydive at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Milwaukee, WI

 

During the skydiving experience, the brain is treated to a psychological cocktail of happiness as the brain secretes adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine!

 

Here is what each natural chemical does and how it affects us psychologically:

Adrenaline 

Adrenaline surges when the brain senses danger and this hormone is powerful as it can force a physical change in the body immediately. Adrenaline heightens awareness by pumping the brain with oxygen allowing you to become hyper-focused leaving you to do difficult tasks, easily. It even gives you a surge of strength you never knew you had. Ever wonder how a normal person can lift a car off of someone who’s been pinned? Adrenaline. The state of heightened excitement brought on by an adrenaline rush is what scientists call the “excitation transfer process” or what you and I would call an afterglow which intensifies our feelings. It’s a wonderful state and lingers long after your skydive!

Serotonin

Serotonin influences many things in our body including anxiety. A surge of serotonin provides a sense of calm and is known to alleviate depression.

Dopamine 

Like serotonin, dopamine is a chemical messenger to the body that affects learning, motivation, mood, sleep and pain processing. Dopamine plays a big role in mental health disorders based on whether the brain has too much or too little. The intense levels of happiness felt after a skydive is credited with dopamine. 

If we had to summarize, a skydive provides just the right dosage of these natural stimulants that leave us feeling… good! 

Skydiving challenges us and makes us feel amazingly good as well!

More Than An Adventure

For many, skydiving is an adventure that’s scratched from the so-called bucket list. For others, skydiving provides a new lease on life. No matter the outcome, skydiving is one of the great pleasures in life. If you’re up for challenging your status quo by pushing beyond your boundaries of comfort, we’d love to help you on that journey. 

Please feel free to contact us for we truly love what we do.

A lady smiles while in free fall during a tandem skydive at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Milwaukee, WI

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