Turns out, a little adrenaline isn't so bad for you.
For some people, skydiving is pretty much the scariest thing imaginable. For others, it's an irresistible thrill. Though Carrie Underwood seems to be somewhere in between those two camps, she went for it in Australia over the weekend and documented the whole experience on Instagram. First, Underwood posted a video packed with musical clues asking fans to guess what she and her tour crew were up to that day. Eventually, she revealed that she would be skydiving and she looked pretty nervous beforehand. (If you want to work out like Carrie, scope this four-minute Tabata workout she swears by.)
Lucky for her, she had her whole tour crew by her side, and it looks like they ended up having a seriously amazing experience. Afterward, Underwood adorably noted in another video post that she "didn't cry at all!" She also captioned one of the many photos she snapped of herself midair: "I still can't believe I did this!" Sounds to us like she may have conquered a fear. Who wouldn't be a little nervous to jump out of a plane? (Ready to feel inspired? Meet Dilys Price, the oldest female skydiver in the world.)
But seeing Underwood have such a positive experience with an activity that has the potential to be terrifying makes a lot of us wonder: Is it a good idea to do things that scare you? Short answer: yep. When you do something that scares you, you're under acute stress and your body reacts. "You have a jolt, a lightning bolt of adrenaline. It clears your mind and makes you more alert, and even triggers a cascade of dopamine in your brain," Dr. Pete Sulack, founder of StressRX.com told Shape. If dopamine sounds familiar, that's probably because it's often referenced as a feel-good hormone that gets released during everything from sex to exercise. So even though your body is releasing some stress hormones when you do something that inspires fear—like skydiving, riding a rollercoaster, or swimming with sharks—you're also getting a dose of good ones.
What's more, while prolonged exposure to stress hormones like adrenaline can harm your health, short-term exposure can actually have a positive impact. In fact, studies like one published in 2012 in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology have found that bursts of adrenaline can help to boost your immune system. Score! So if you're thinking about jumping out of a plane for fun like Underwood did or conquering another fear you've been harboring, we say go for it!