How Fear Can Be Good for You
23 August 2022
Science has shown that feeling fear (in the right dose) has many benefits. Fear-inducing activities can be super fun, whilst also having positive effects on your health and wellbeing. Here are some reasons why the right amount of fear can be good for you...
Fear Keeps You Safe
An obvious one, but fear is the thing that helps us keep ourselves safe a lot of the time! It's our internal alarm that tells us when danger is near, and compels us to take action to protect ourselves. Without fear, you wouldn’t be aware of the threats around you. You might simply walk across a busy road because the fear of cars racing toward you isn’t stopping you!
When you're scared, your body reacts with a fight or flight response. This determines how your body reacts to the situation; whether that be increased focus, energy, speed, or strength to fight or flee.
Fear Can Be Fun!
On the other end of the spectrum, fear can be fun! In some individuals, the body releases dopamine (the feel-good chemical), and fear responses produce endorphins which can be a sort of natural high. When you step outside your comfort zone in activity parks, theme parks or haunted houses, it can boost your adrenaline and make you feel alive! These little increases of adrenaline you get when you’re scared can also help alleviate depression.
Conquering Fears Makes You Feel Good
The brain craves new challenges, and when you overcome one, a rush of dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin are released in your body, making you feel great. And the same thing happens when you conquer a fear. Every time you manage to do something you're afraid of - whether that's facing your fear of spiders, tackling the task of public speaking, or overcoming your fear of heights on a treetop zipline - you get that incredible rush that gives you a heightened sense of empowerment!
Fear Can Help You Lose Weight
Yep, you heard us right - fear can help you lose weight. Your pulse quickens as a part of the fear response, and your body experiences a surge of adrenaline which causes your metabolism to go into high gear. This all results in your body starting to burn sugar and fat. A study carried out by psychologists at London’s University of Westminster found that when subjects watched horror films, they burned 113 calories on average - that's equivalent to what they would burn on a half an hour walk!
so - the verdict..?
Although experiencing fear may not always be pleasant, it's important - it’s the reason you stay safe, and the thing that can push you to overcome challenges. Putting yourself in unfamiliar situations that might seem scary can actually be good for you. So, next time you’re asked to visit a haunted house or walk the high ropes, just say YES!