The good news is that fear can persuade us to avoid dangerous situations or help us flee from an angry bear.
The bad news is that fear can lead to chronic stress, with serious health consequences.
可能不是, 圣扎迦利说Sikora, medical director of psychology at Northwestern Medicine in suburban Chicago – unless you think scary movies and haunted houses might trigger more serious anxiety, or if you have cardiovascular disease that could be exacerbated by a sudden and dramatic increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
"For most people, experiencing mild to moderate levels of fear in a safe context is good,”他说. 我们可以接受这一点，享受其中的乐趣."
"The brain-heart connection is fascinating, and we don't talk about it enough," said Dr. Puja Mehta, associate professor of cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “有直接影响和间接影响."
It starts in the amygdala, two almond-shaped clusters near the base of the brain. "That's the fear center that reminds us when there is something threatening, 为了保证我们的安全,”Sikora说.
这可以提醒我们不要靠近大峡谷的边缘. 突如其来的压力也会导致身体释放荷尔蒙, 比如皮质醇和肾上腺素, to provide a sense of alertness and extra energy to deal with the threat. 这就是战斗或逃跑反应.
Without fear or the amygdala, Sikora said, "I think our life spans would be much shorter."
到目前为止还不错. The problems, Sikora and Mehta said, start when the fear doesn't recede even if the danger goes away.
"All these things happening to your body are good if you're in a dangerous situation,”Sikora说. “但如果你躺在床上试图入睡，那就不好了. When that fear becomes untethered, it can really impact our functioning and our quality of life."
从恐惧症到恐慌症再到创伤后应激障碍, uncontrolled fear can disrupt lives and require psychological help. 但这也会带来医疗后果.
"If you stay in that stress physiology mode, you have neurohormonal changes," Mehta said. "Your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up, there's more inflammation. And those risk factors can ultimately lead to heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation or ventricular arrhythmias, 流向心脏的血液受到损害, 还有其他的后果，比如心力衰竭."
Moreover, she said, the risks may be compounded by unhealthy behavior.
"People who stay in that stress mode tend to make poor lifestyle choices," Mehta said. “你不会吃得那么健康, 你不会做那么多运动, 你可以不听医生的建议. 如果你压力过大，睡眠就会中断. 从心脏的角度来看，我们知道这对你不好. And there even can be social isolation, which is also a risk factor" for cardiovascular problems.
Still, many people flock to horror films, bungee jumps and other pursuits regarded as a "good scare."
梅塔认为这种影响不同于意外的惊吓, 比如地震或暴力袭击, 你也准备好了.
"If I'm going on a roller coaster, I know what's going to happen, and I'm ready for it,”她说.
Sikora – though he admits he was frightened by a haunted house as a child and still avoids them – agreed.
"I think somewhere in our brains we consciously are aware that even though those things seem to pose a threat, 这不是真正的威胁,”他说. “所以这种刺激是有趣的，而不是可怕的. And that can cause the brain to release dopamine, which helps us feel pleasure."
随着万圣节临近, Sikora建议, 享受乐趣，尝试新的体验, 但不要让现有的焦虑变得更糟.
And, 梅塔警告, watch out for something that definitely should scare us on Halloween: overloading on sugar.
“如果你喜欢吃甜食的话, 而不是含糖饮料和糖果棒, 吃些新鲜水果或一块黑巧克力,”她说.
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