Why a Good Scare May be Just What You Need...
It’s that time of year again when we are surrounded by frightful images of ghoulish goblins,
creepy ghosts and murderous witches – all designed to shock us out of our wits. Many of us deliberately seek a good Halloween scare. Others run away from Halloween or
anything else terrifying. Which are you?
Are you the person who refuses to go on a rollercoaster or watch a horror film? Or are you that
guy or gal who can’t wait to jump out of a plane or go into the scariest haunted house around?
Aside from those who may have a cardiac or other condition which makes them want to avoid
shocks and scares, it turns out that people who have an affinity for being frightened are doing
something that can be good for their health.
The chemical and emotional reactions that occur when we get a good fright can be beneficial in
a variety of ways:
- The Rush – That high flying zip line or bloodthirsty clown on the big screen are actually doing you a favor. As you fly above the canopy or watch a terrifying scene your body produces a rush of adrenaline and dopamine.
In our cave-dwelling days, those chemicals were key to escaping danger. Today, they can
give you a satisfying thunderbolt that brings the world into sharper focus.
- The Camaraderie – Why is it that we like to do scary things with others? When we
experience a moment of terror together, our bodies produce oxytocin – a hormone that
motivates people to bond and become closer.
Our natural ancient inclination is to join with another person or a group to increase our
odds for survival. Sharing the fright deepens our connection. So that horror movie may
be just the ticket for a perfect date night.
- The Challenge – Are you the type who waits till the 11th hour to complete tasks or fulfill
commitments? It could be that you are genetically predisposed to enjoy shots of
If you tend to operate with anxiety, take heart. The fear-based emotion can force you to
become more focused and goal-oriented. Your worry about how you will perform at the
office or in competition can keep you motivated to be prepared. It also builds
confidence by proving that you can perform under stress and enjoy positive results.
- The Fun – It may be harrowing to jump out of an airplane but going out of your comfort
zone and facing your fears is a natural antidote for depression.
Not only does the shock to your system take your mind off of everyday problems, your
brain benefits from norepinephrine which floods from the adrenal gland and increases
arousal and stimulates excitement.
This Halloween, embrace those scary moments with your friends and family. You’ll enjoy an
ancestral jolt of heart-pounding chemicals and you’ll share a memory that you can giggle about
together for years.
Need another way to get your heart rate up? Check out our October 28 Day Challenge at Training for Warriors South Metro. Time for some scary awesome results!