It’s that time of year again, the cool Autumn air blows in fully stocked candy shelves and Friday the 13th movie marathons. The more brave of us may venture out to test our courage in a haunted house; literally paying to have our ancestral fight-or-flight responses triggered. But why exactly do we love getting scared so much? For several reasons, it turns out! If you love getting your socks scared off, this one’s for you!
Fear is a Brain Booster
Facing fears and putting yourself into unknown situations forces your brain to learn. A haunted house is no different. Although you know that you are safe, you have no idea what will happen. Your brain needs to take in this new environment and adapt as you go. This quality is referred to as neuroplasticity. This happens throughout our lives, causing our brains to continuously change and form new connections between neurons. In a fearful situation these changes happen more quickly, speeding up our ability to focus on and adapt to new settings.
Fear Gets Your Body Pumping
Pumping with hormones, that is! When we experience fear, our glands release adrenaline and norepinephrine into our bodies in large quantities. The first of these, adrenaline, is a response that gives us increased stamina and strength under stress. Norepinephrine is what helps to keep us focused and alert. Our survival mechanisms work to keep us performing at our best so that we aren’t falling into panic mode. Panic mode=getting eaten. Whether that’s by a saber-toothed tiger or an actor playing a post-apocalyptic zombie, our body doesn’t care. What it does care about, is surviving long enough that we get to safety.
Fear Is Good For Your Mind
When you’re making the conscious choice to step into that haunted house, or step out onto the track of your first marathon, those chemicals like adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine will flood your body and remain floating around. So even in those moments where you are the most fearful and vulnerable, your body is still pumping feel-good hormones. This natural high has an incredible effect on your mind. Being aware of and accepting your vulnerabilities often will begin to offset the negative emotions associated with them. That means it is more likely that you will challenge yourself further the next time and achieve even more.
Whether you’re a bit on the shy side or an outrageous adrenaline junkie, fear affects us all. It can ground us and help us to achieve things we never thought possible. If you’re afraid to start out your fitness journey, take the next step with Vitality Fitness. We’ll show you how to harness your own personal strength and find power in your vulnerabilities. Maybe you can even find a fitness buddy to check out that new haunted house with you. Happy Halloween, folks – From your friends at Vitality Fitness.