What Actually Happens To Your Body When You're Scared

Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf? Well, depending on your age, this may not be something you’re still afraid of. However, with scary movies and haunted houses in high demand during this time of year, being scared has become a staple of the Halloween experience.

Nearly all of us have some type of fear. Whether it’s a fear of creepy crawlies, ghosts or villains, we all know the feeling. And while some of us enjoy being scared more than others, do you actually know what happens to your mind and body when you’re scared?

 It starts with the brain… When we hear or see something that we perceive as a threat, our brains respond with fear. Surprisingly, it isn’t only real-life threats that cause our brains to react, even movies and haunted houses can illicit the same response.

…Then the physical reaction. Once we perceive a threat, our brains release two chemicals. The first causes us to have an involuntary physical response. For some people this will cause a jump, for others it may cause them to freeze.

Next, it’s fight or flight. The second chemical our brains release when we’re scared causes a huge boost in adrenaline. Once adrenaline floods our system, it impacts the way we think, among other things. We simply just react to the threat without thinking through it.

Then adrenaline takes over. Our bodies begin responding to the adrenaline rush with an elevated heart rate, higher blood pressure, increased sweat, higher blood glucose levels and dilated pupils.

Our muscle strength is increased as well. This is due to higher levels of oxygen and glucose being pumped throughout the body. All of these changes prepare our bodies to react and take action.

The power of getting scared.
Keep in mind that our bodies’ response to fear isn’t something that only applies to Halloween festivities. This powerful response helps us to avoid very real dangers. So the next time you sit down to watch a scary movie, even if you get scared, embrace your body’s response and know that it’s perfectly normal.

Have no fear…
Enjoy the fun Halloween festivities and remember to put safety first by using these simple tips. Find peace of mind in knowing that Gwinnett Medical Center is always here to help. With conveniently located Urgent Care centers, as well as a Children’s Emergency Center, GMC will ensure that you and your family receive the care you need to stay healthy and safe.  


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