Fear and anxiety: two emotions that we recognize as commonly plaguing our lives. And it is generally accepted that they produce ill effects on our moral and health. However, what if that was not the entire truth? What if there was actually a strong benefit to fear and anxiety? What if they actually made us better and stronger?
Well, that is one of the intriguing ideas that I took from Psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s talk at the TED Conference. Now, I am not sure how well I would be able to accept stress as a positive impact on my health and mind, but I will sure keep in mind how powerful the mind is over the body. Similar to the placebo effect, perhaps it is possible to manipulate stress for our benefit just by thinking it so.
However, this new perspective on fear and nervousness was again brought to my attention on one of the latest Doctor Who episodes when Peter Capaldi said, “being afraid is alright, because…fear is a super power. Fear can make you faster, and cleverer and stronger.” The adrenaline that pumps through our veins when we are afraid gives us the strength to be able to do things that we may not be able to normally do and we are kept on a heightened alert. Fear is, therefore, the ultimate mechanism for combating danger.
In conclusion, I would say that fear and anxiety can be pure forces of good only in the correct mindset, but that mindset might not be realistic for anyone today because of how we are brought up in this modern society. So, then, is it worth it to at least try to welcome fear and stress under a new light? I say so. The study mentioned in Kelly McGonigal’s talk appears to suggest so, and I am all for not being afraid about being afraid and not being stressed about being stressed.