6 Reasons You Should Do Something That Scares You
“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” – Judy Blume
At Wire & Sky we see participants that can’t wait to drop from the edge of the platform into the unknown, and then there are those who take a deep breath (or five) before they can shakily lower themselves away from the edge.
But their reactions at the ground are always the same; feverish excitement, energy, chatter and laughter.
Aside from enjoying spectacular views and being brilliant fun, that little tingle of trepidation and fear you feel when you drop into the unknown is actually really good for you!
You’ll make connections
Fear releases oxytocin, a hormone that increases our desire to approach and interact with others. It also heightens our awareness of social cues, enabling us to better understand other people’s emotions and perspectives, making us more likely to strike up a conversation and share a sense of camaraderie. It’s the perfect scenario for a first date!
You’ll live in the moment
As adrenaline and dopamine flood your central nervous system, it shifts thought from the abstract and fades out unnecessary distractions to make your alert and focussed on the here and now. It’s added effect of calming any fear then allows you to fully experience what’s happening.
You’ll burn calories
Once that heart starts racing, your metabolism is kicked into gear burning sugar and fat. Some studies have shown that watching a horror movie can in fact burn the same amount of calories as a 30 minute walk. So we reckon an abseil with Wire & Sky has got to be at least the equivalent of a chocolate digestive!*
It will make you stronger
Psychological studies have shown that by facing your fear, also known as habituation, you accumulate knowledge about your ability to cope and your anxiety loses its impact. Repeatedly doing things that scare us then builds on our skills and mastery of such situations ultimately reducing the fear of what might go wrong and our need to worry. Our ability to overcome these fears also builds a sense of accomplishment and bolsters our confidence in future scenarios.
It’s good for your health
Short term acute fear temporarily boosts the strength and duration of our immune response. An evolutionary adaptation, this increase in immune response likely developed to protect against potential injury during our fight or flight response to predation. Any injury can introduce harmful pathogens but stress-induced changes in the immune system can help to accelerate wound repair and prevent infections from establishing.
You’ll experience a natural high
As well as adrenaline, feel good chemicals, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin are released when you feel fear. Whilst we initially receive a physical kick from these chemicals to alert us of a threat, heightening our senses, our brains almost instantly process the reality of this threat. How we experience this arousal then quickly shifts from one of fear to a thrilling sensation of excitement and enjoyment.
So rather than shrinking back from the things that make us nervous, fear helps us to grow, and become better, healthier and more engaged people. Here’s to your next adventure!
* This is a total guess and not in any way scientifically proven.