“When you think of skydiving, you usually think of adrenaline junkies – people who love to live on the edge, who live impulsively. You may even think of people with a few screws loose,” jokes Kevin Mulleady. “But there are real psychological and physiological benefits to skydiving and other extreme sports like it. And people get into those sports for all sorts of reasons.”
Kevin Mulleady Discusses How He Got Into Skydiving
“I love skydiving,” enthuses Mulleady, “I love the rush and the sensation of flying – one reason I got into skydiving was because, like so many kids who grew up with G.I. Joes, I always had a passion to join the military, and more specifically the Navy SEALs.” SEAL is an acronym that stands for SEa, Air, and Land and they are the special ops sector of the Navy – their elite force.
“Since SEALs are masters of the sea, air, and land, I decided that I would challenge myself to attempt the same. Amongst other endeavors, I ventured into scuba diving, skydiving, and race car driving, with the thrill of testing my abilities,” says Kevin Mulleady. “It started as ‘training’, as a way to see what I could do. Now it’s an exciting hobby.”
Extreme Sports Improve Your Reaction to Stress, Says Kevin Mulleady
“If you’re up to it, no pun intended, skydiving can teach you to take your natural stress responses, and turn them into strengths,” says Kevin Mulleady. “Instead of panicking or freezing, one must use that extra adrenaline and heightened sense of awareness to his or her advantage.”
And, actually, psychology backs him up. We’ve all been told for decades that stress will kill us faster, that we need to reduce stress in our lives at all costs. But the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied 29,000 people over 8 years and they discovered that how you view stress is actually much more important than the stress itself.
If you believe that stress is bad for you, then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and it can negatively impact your health. But if you embrace stress as your body and mind’s natural response to extreme situations and stimuli, you can let it energize and motivate you – and this way of thinking almost completely negates the impact of stress on your mental and physical health.
“It will take some time and practice to become comfortable,” says Kevin Mulleady, a long-time extreme sports enthusiast. “But once you develop that resilience, once you welcome the fear and let it make you stronger, you’re less anxious, more clear-headed, and you learn faster. Operating effectively in novel, high-input situations can make you feel more in control of yourself than you’ve ever been before.”
“That meeting you have coming up? That presentation to the board, or hard conversation with a friend, or the public speaking you have to do? That’s nothing compared to what you’ve already overcome in the sky, in the ocean, or on land. My involvement in extreme sports has definitely improved my composure in intense situations,” says Kevin Mulleady.
Skydiving Improves Your Communication Skills – Kevin Mulleady Explains How
“Contrary to popular belief, skydiving is far from a solo sport,” explains Kevin. “You need the pilot to obviously get you in the air but also to tell you when you are at the predetermined exit point and clear to jump. You’re always with a group or an instructor or fellow diver. You have support teams at the drop zone to help keep you safe and let you know when you get off course. You have to be able to communicate with all of those people efficiently and clearly – the first time.”
To execute a skydive, you have to co-imagine, strategize, and plan. You have to be able to cooperate with your team and you have to trust them implicitly. Skydiving encourages growth and confidence in communication by introducing you to new groups of people and requiring you to build trust quickly. You have to share and accept ideas and deliver thorough rundowns and post-dive briefings.
“There’s nothing like a successful dive – no matter which part of the team you’re a part of. From support team to pilot, there’s always cheering when the diver lands safely,” says Kevin Mulleady.
“The same goes for racing,” he continues. “I have to communicate with my crew constantly about the state of the car, my driving, the road conditions, etc., and I have to be able to take in their advice and expertise. They can see things from the outside that I can’t. They keep me on task. You have to build an open line of communication to really excel under those high-pressure conditions.”