This Is Your Body on Fear
Do you ever wonder why your heart races and you can’t think clearly when you’re afraid? Sure, you may not actually need to fear that skeleton in the haunted house or the White Walker streaming through the screen, but try telling that to your body’s fear response.
When you’re scared, even if it’s just from good old-fashioned Halloween fun or your favorite TV show, your brain sets off an elaborate and coordinated set of responses to help you stay safe, says Daniel Evans, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who practices at the UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic. Physical changes—from deep inside your brain all the way to the muscles in your legs—happen in seconds.
“They’re all evolutionarily-developed reflexes and happen quite quickly,” he says.