8 Reasons Why a Dose of Fear Can Actually Be Good for Us
For people who have fears or phobias, psychologists now have a modern treatment in addition to psychotherapy. They use virtual reality to help people fight their anxiety. If you’re afraid of crowds, you will be placed in a virtual situation where you will be surrounded by people, and this will help you face your fears and overcome them.
Here at Bright Side, we’ve discovered that our fears don’t always need treatment as they actually may help us in many ways. Let’s take a look at how a reasonable portion of fear can help us thrive in life.
1. Fear helps you to lose weight.
Experiencing a bit of fear burns more calories than when you’re not afraid of anything. As our pulse gains speed, our body experiences a flow of adrenaline. Our metabolism speeds up and sugar and fat get burned in the process. In one study, physiologists at London’s University of Westminster found that when people watched horror movies, such as The Shining or The Exorcist, they burned up to 113 calories, which is the same amount they’d have burned on a half-hour walk.
2. Fear boosts your immune system.
In some research conducted by Coventry University in the UK, participants watched a horror flick. Then the researchers took blood samples from these people. The results showed that a feeling of fear caused their white blood cells to activate. These are the type of cells that help you fight diseases and repair your body. The more white blood cells you have, the stronger your immune system is.
3. Fear gives you a sense of empowerment and strong motivation.
For example, if you’re a runner and you follow the same route every day, you quickly become accustomed to it, but when you find a new place where you’ll be a bit scared and really need to focus, your brain will start working to the maximum. Our brain craves new challenges.
4. Fear bonds you to other people.
When you feel fearful, oxytocin is released, which is a hormone that helps you build relationships with those around you. We all have the survival instinct and it drives us to pair with other humans in order to overcome danger. A perfect example of this is when people huddle together on the couch while watching a scary movie.
5. It gives you focus and concentration.
Thinking about the future or something unknown can be enough to scare you. If you’re feeling a little worried or anxious about it, together with adrenaline, which keeps us stressed, another hormone known as norepinephrine is released, keeping you focused instead of panicked. It allows clearer thinking under stress, which is why it’s used in many antidepressants.
We live in a world of constant distractions, like TV-watching or web-surfing, and a little fear helps us to be fully awake and focused.
6. Fear helps us quickly get out of trouble.
When we go across a poorly lit street at night or hear footsteps just behind us, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our future actions: we start to walk faster and try to reach our safe destination sooner. Fear forces the brain to react immediately and find a solution instead of spending time going into a detailed analysis of a situation.
7. Fear helps us make a positive change.
When we visit the doctor and they comment on our blood analysis, saying that we have high sugar levels and are at risk of getting diabetes, we start to experience fear. That’s because we may already be aware of the severe damage diabetes can cause. So, because of this, we start following the doctor’s orders by consuming less sugar and strictly following a diet, getting ourselves out of that dangerous zone. Without fear, this positive change might have taken too long.
8. Fear helps us overachieve.
There’s a psychological state known as Cronos syndrome, which is when people are afraid that they will be replaced by someone else in any sphere of their life, whether it be related to work, a relationship, or family. Psychologists claim that in moderate doses, this fear can help us prosper in our lives, and without such fear, many of us would feel a decline in our private or professional lives. When we’re sure no one will replace us, we become relaxed about things we have and start getting lazy in our relationships and at work.
What fear or phobia do you have? How do you fight it?