You've probably heard by now about the recent blockbuster success of It, the horror film based on the 1986 Stephen King novel. Centered around an evil clown named Pennywise who murders children in a small town in Maine, It opened domestically last weekend with a stunning $123.4 million launch. In fact, It is still going strong, as it has even been outperforming newer releases since its opening day.
If you're hesitant to spend two hours in a dark room being terrified by a killer clown, there's a good chance you're unaware of all the benefits being scared can actually bring you.
Here are 3 reasons why being afraid is good for your health:
Keeps you vigilant and alert
When your brain identifies a threat, your brain's hypothalamus is triggered, thus letting the rest of your body know to prepare for what is about to come your way. Afterwards, adrenaline is released by your adrenal glands. This hormone is what alerts your nervous system to get into gear, and to put your body into survival mode. Another hormone, norepinephrine, is also released, and has been known to keep you focused instead of panicked. Jake Deutsch, MD, an emergency physician in New York, says norepinephrine "allows clearer thinking under stress, which is precisely why it's used in many antidepressants." Need to think clearly and quickly? Try getting scared first before buying another energy drink!
Keeps your body in check
Another hormone that is released by your adrenal glands when you are afraid of something is cortisol, which can be greatly beneficial to your health in short supplies. Granted, if you have too much cortisol you may find yourself with weight gain, long-term stress, and high blood pressure, but moderation is key, isn't it? When you experience fear, small releases of cortisol will aid in balancing bodily functions like digestion or immune system processes. Says Deutsch, "[cortisol] is like a thermostat for the body." When a killer clown attacks, you will need this body thermostat more than you may think in order to keep yourself and things under control!
Brings your career to new heights
Okay, so maybe you don't necessarily want to see Pennywise the clown in the boardroom right before your very important meeting. However, the fear you may feel when you are scared can still be incredibly motivating, and may give you the extra push you need to accomplish your workplace or career goals. Debbie Mandel, stress-management specialist and author of Addicted to Stress, says an adrenaline rush not only helps you delegate and be a productive team member, but also is also needed by many during "the eleventh hour, whether it's to tackle a project at work or write a paper on a deadline."
Yes, the time has arrived to become friends with fear. After all, can you really say you're living your healthiest life without it?
Oh, and in case you haven't seen IT yet, here's the official film trailer...try not to get too scared!