How do I prepare myself for my bungee jump?
April 21, 2013 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I am going bungee jumping in one week! But am TERRIFIED of heights! I want to go because I think it will be awesome and fulfilling, but am at the same time, completely scared out of my mind!! What things can I do to prepare myself for the jump?
posted by dinosaurprincess to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Visualize! Spend some quiet time visualizing yourself getting your equipment on and jumping and it going incredibly well. Visualize yourself feeling calm and enjoying it and with a smile on your face. I was never a big believer in visualization, but man it can really work.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:13 AM on April 21, 2013

Bungee jumping is a blast.

What I didn't anticipate was that, for me, the scariest part wasn't the jump. There was enough adrenaline to numb my senses for that, and so when the guides yell at you to jump, you jump. Climbing over the railing onto the platform, though, was terrifying. I just kept telling myself that the guides do this dozens of times a day, this is their job, etc.

I didn't get whiplash or anything, but also didn't know that when you bounce back for the first time, you are travelling much faster than when you're initially free-falling. (I guess this makes sense, but wasn't something I had thought about.) So be prepared to go hurtling back up pretty quick.

For me, the nerves were totally worth it. It's a huge rush, and one of those "HOLY SHIT I JUST JUMPED OFF A BRIDGE AND AM TOTALLY STILL ALIVE HOW AWESOME AM I" moments.

Have fun!
posted by frizzle at 10:15 AM on April 21, 2013

This isn't exactly what you asked for, but I'd say you should prepare by saying "no."
Because this.
posted by cccorlew at 10:42 AM on April 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

I would say, don't visualize, actually. You run the risk of over-thinking and psyching yourself out. Don't look at the ground and pick out the spot on the ground you think you'll hit. Instead, look at the horizon and be present in the moment of enjoyment.

The scariest thing for me was the sound of the air rushing past your ears ... The "whoosh" sound accelerates as you pick up speed, of course, but then it crosses an invisible line where you realize that you're falling faster than you've ever fallen before, and you're still accelerating.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:16 AM on April 21, 2013

Just be aware that doing this once won't necessarily "cure" you of a fear of heights.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:26 AM on April 21, 2013

I used to think I was afraid of heights until I realized I was really afraid of falling, or more specifically, an uncontrolled landing. You're not going to have an uncontrolled landing, and you're in complete control of whether or not you jump (not fall); I bet you have a blast. Let us know!
posted by kate4914 at 11:31 AM on April 21, 2013

I've never gone bungee-jumping but I've jumped out of more than enough airplanes. My advice is to distract yourself right up until the moment you jump, and then enjoy it. Dwelling on it beforehand doesn't help at all.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:48 AM on April 21, 2013

I'd also say that the best thing you can do is forget about it. Don't overthink it. I'm sure all the safety precautions will be in place and, from my own experience bungee jumping, there's not one thing I'd wish I'd done beforehand.

I've also parachuted. Sure, there's a lot of preparation needed for that, in the form of techniques and emergency measures. But during my first jump, on the plane ride up what the instructor had us all do is sing songs together. The idea he explained later is that you don't want to start dwelling too much at that point or get yourself into a panic. You want to, you need to relax.
posted by vacapinta at 11:54 AM on April 21, 2013

I'm no fan of heights, I fly, I go to high levels in office buildings, but I have to psyche myself into doing it.

What I'd do if someone was forcing me to bungee-jump is to start doing things that were height related. Take elevators to the top floor of tall buildings.

I'm not sure that doing something that terrifies me is in anyway going to translate into fun retro-actively.

I suggest that you keep a journal of everything prior to doing the jump and then afterwards.

If you get up there and want to chicken out a the last minute. Go ahead. No one will think any worse of you.

I face my fears everyday, I suck it up and do it. I wouldn't deliberately subject myself to stuff that's unnecessary. That's pointless.

So I go over bridges, fly, drive on freeway flyovers and all the other stuff a person does to get through life.

Bungee jumping and skydiving is totally off the table.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:11 PM on April 21, 2013

Best answer: I posted something like this a few months ago but it was about skydiving. I even chickened out TWICE and felt miserable because I didn't do it. No one is forcing you to do this, just know that. But if you feel a strong urge to do it and get there and DON'T do it, you will regret it. Regret is forever. Fear is temporary with these types of things. That's what I have realized.

I may be scared going up in the plane but I know if I rode the plane down ever again, I would regret it. But I know if I am scared going up in the plane, and actually jump when I land I will be happy as hell and have an awesome time. How many situations do you go into thinking the worst and it turns out nothing like you thought it would, but better. This is one of those things.

Don't listen to those people who try to talk you out of it. If you want to do it, you will be so much more happier if you do it and prove those who were worried sick about you that you made it through and are fine!
posted by Autumn89 at 4:21 PM on April 21, 2013

I bungee jumped at Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. At 111 meters it is quite high, and there is nothing underneath you in any direction, just the beautiful river valley. I was not expecting to do this, and in fact I was quite annoyed that my girlfriend suggested it when we were in the area. But then came the day when I survived being roared at by a lion, charged by an elephant, and chased by a hippo. After that I figured it wasn't my time to die and I should complete the package by jumping off a 300 foot bridge with a rubber band attached to my ankles.

I can't tell you how other operations work, but at Vic Falls the people running the operation don't give you time to think. Take advantage of that. There is a queue and once you get to the front and they start strapping you in they are talking a constant stream of BS at you. It was funny, it was well intentioned, and it was constant culminating with "step up to the gate, 3, 2, 1, bungee!"

The thing I realized at the time is that there is a very deep reptilian brain in all of us that knows you are not supposed to jump into thin air. It's like a safety override or something, just saying saying "don't do it. stop." It is natural to jump onto something. That is what your body is normally focused on when you jump: the thing you are jumping onto. With bungee jumping you aren't jumping onto anything. You are just jumping. For me it was a very unnatural experience and if I stood there and thought about there's no way I would have been able to do it. But luckily I was carried by the momentum so I didn't have a choice.

Because once you are in the air it is wonderful. I was surprised in that it does not feel like you are falling. It feels like you are floating. It is free fall, so in retrospect that makes sense. But I was not expecting it. Those couple of seconds of free fall are just a delicious wonderful feeling. And then the cord catches, which is much more gentle than it looks like in the film, and you swing back and forth a few times, and then you hang upside down by your ankles until they fetch you, which is a little annoying, but at Vic Falls at least the view is nice.

Contra cccorlew's comment, bungee jumping is quite safe. The vast majority of bungee accidents happen because people are doing something really stupid without adequate safety measures, like jumping from 100 feet with a cord measured for 200 feet. If you're using an established franchise that has been operating for a while you will not have this problem!

Good luck, and have a blast!
posted by alms at 7:17 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think there is just a moment you have to have where you shut off your brain. That's almost literally what it feels like for me, like I sever some line of communication and get in the haze of the surreal moment. So, ya stop thinking, take a big gulp, say to the part of your brain that you've shut off (but is desperately trying to come back on) "fuck it" and then before your brain can argue with you, go!!
posted by hannahelastic at 9:23 PM on April 21, 2013

Response by poster: Hey guys, just in case any future people find this thread looking for answers, I did it!! And it was amazing, and I'm so thankful for your help! What worked for me was not thinking EXCEPT for ten minutes every night when I would spend time researching bungee jumping e.g. looking on the internet about what it would feel like, watching videos and so on... I would calmly confront my worries and then refuse to think about it until that time the next day. Was still really scared, but it ended up being manageable!! 10/10 would reccomend :D
posted by dinosaurprincess at 3:12 PM on May 8, 2013

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