Good news for horror movies fans, the news is: feeling scared is good for you—it’s a fact. And now the spooky season is here again. What better excuse could there be to get on your Halloween costume and take part in some truly terrifying activities? Oh, still wondering, “is fear is a bad thing?” Well, let us tell you a few scary secrets. Here are the 4 reasons why fear is good for your health.
Why is fear good for your health?
It’s true. Fear can make us uncomfortable, uneasy, and just downright scared. But is fear really a bad thing? The science says no. But why is fear good for your health? Let’s take a look at the top 4 reasons that fear is good for you.
Reason No.1: Fear gives you a natural feel-good boost
When you feel the fear and do it anyway, you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Not only does this leave you receptive to new experiences—hello, personal growth—it allows you to try new things and feel ALIVE.
Think about all those scary experiences around Halloween you had as a child, the feeling of hearing a ghost story and wondering if just maybe it was real? Think back to how you felt. And now think about how much of a great time you had. Perhaps you were sharing the experience with friends. This also brings in the social element of sharing a scary experience and boosts your brain’s social receptors. Essentially what this does is improve how you feel and increase the brain’s feel-good chemical, making you feel happier and “charged” for the day (or night) ahead.
But even when it’s not Halloween, you can still harness the power of fear for your health. Experiences that evoke the fear factor can help you feel happier, give you an energy boost, and so much more. Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the U.S. from 1933-1945, is often quoted as saying: “do one thing every day that scares you.” But, unfortunately, while memorable, this is inaccurate. Her actual quote is much more profound:
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. —Eleanor Roosevelt
Reason No.2: Fear boosts your immune system
Fear might make you feel good, well, after you have that big scare, of course. But did you know it’s actually good for your immune system too? Providing that fear is short-lived—think jump scares, Halloween fun, adrenaline causing situation—not long-term anxiety, then fear can strengthen the immune system. But how?
Fear creates an immune response in the body. Even psychological fear, such as watching a scary movie, causes the body to think it’s under threat. In turn, the system responds, giving the body adrenaline, which can boost the immune system, much in the same way as exercise does. One scientific study even showed how fear can cause the body to create white blood cells, as it does with an infection to combat fear.
Reason No.3: Fear lowers your levels of stress
Do you know how after a challenging workout or a huge belly laugh, you actually fear more relaxed? Well, fear works in the same way. When we are scared, our bodies release adrenaline into our systems, boosting our body’s response—heart rate is raised, we may even sweat, etc. Scary!
But once your body realizes that there is no threat, it begins to relax from its flight-or-fight response. Your muscles will un-tense, oxygen will start to flow, oxygen-filled blood will flow through your body, and your brain will start releasing feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins, which will give you that good-mood boost. This not only makes you feel great now but can lower your stress levels long-term.
Reason No.4: Fear can help you lose weight
Just like exercise helps your body boost its capabilities and helps you lose weight, so too can fear. No, no, unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that binge-watching all the Halloween movies will give you that body of your dreams, especially if there’s a giant tub of popcorn involved, but it will help.
Studies show that when your body feels fear, it causes the metabolism to be increased, and this leads to more calories burned overall. So, feeling scared can actually be good for your waistline too.
So, what movie did scientists say burned the most calories? That award goes to…The Shining with 184 calories in 90-minutes.
Note: While short-term fear in a controlled environment can have benefits for your health, at the same time, long-term fear can cause generalized anxiety, which has an adverse effect on your health. The same goes for if you have a pre-existing heart condition—feel the fear and do it anyway may not always be the best advice in this case.
Low-risk, scary activities you can try to get that fear adrenaline boost
When you want to feel the fear and its benefits, the only thing left to do is build up the courage and do it. So what activities are there that will let you feel fear in a reasonably safe environment to get the maximum benefits?
1.Try out Verv’s exclusive Halloween workouts
Our exclusively spooky and limited-edition content is out now. Head on over to our app to experience a spooky forest walk and a fear-inducing workout that will leave you exercised and relaxed. Plus, it’s lots of fun too.
2.Go trick or treating
This is a Halloween classic for a reason, and you’re never too big to give it a go. Get on your spooky Halloween outfit and hit the town for some trick or treating. P.S. This works best with a group of friends.
3.Get that haunted house experience
Depending on where you are and the COVID restrictions in your area, this may be a go-and-experience or a DIY experience. If you have the opportunity, heading to a haunted house lets you experience the jump scares of the unexpected, which will boost your heart rate and get your blood pumping—doing it at home? That’s ok too. Work with your family to take on a room each and create a spooky atmosphere that will leave you shaking in your witch boots.
4.Hop onto your local ghost tour
History, tales of ghosts, and maybe even a devil or two. Hope on a local ghost tour for your area and experience your local surroundings like you never have before. Every area has their local myths and legends and learning about yours not only lets you experience history but have frightful fun while doing so.
5.Play Halloween games
Remember back to when you were a child? What games did you play at Halloween? Chances are, alongside dunking for apples, there were some spooky ones, too? Well, what better time than Halloween to get back in touch with your inner child. Gather some friends and play some tried and tested Halloween games for spooky fun.