Adrenaline is a naturally produced hormone that causes our heart to beat faster, pupils to dilate and increases the air intake to our lungs, among other effects. It makes us feel more alert and increases emotions, whether that be increased anger, happiness, excitement or something else. Sometimes adrenaline can also be used as a medication to mitigate pain after an accident such as a car crash or sporting injury.
All of the effects of adrenaline are usually summed up as an ‘adrenaline rush’. We may easily recognise an adrenaline rush during one or after experiencing it, but it can affect how we perform. There are benefits of adrenaline on our competitive nature, but that’s not the full story.
When Do We Usually Experience Adrenaline?
We may get an adrenaline rush in an array of situations and circumstances. It almost always occurs when we have something to gain and want to win or obtain something that is within our grasp. For example, we may experience adrenaline before a big job interview and when playing sports. We can even benefit from adrenaline when playing casino games because we focus on our strategy more or make fewer mistakes in games like poker and blackjack. Adrenaline is almost certain to kick in when competing in combat sports because of its association with our fight-or-flight response.
Five Ways Adrenaline Benefits Our Competitive Nature
As mentioned, adrenaline has the potential to enhance our competitive nature and boost performance. There are many ways this can occur, including:
1. Increase oxygen intake combines with contracting blood vessels will send more oxygen to major muscle groups.
3. Adrenaline increases your focus and attention to details.
4. Adrenaline prevents inside dialogues of self-doubt and tells us that we can achieve something quickly. This also makes us more robust in the short term.
5. It has even been known to improve our immune system when experienced in small and frequent doses.
Can Adrenaline Ever Be a Bad Thing?
Most of the time adrenaline is a positive thing for our competitive nature and helps us overcome tasks with more effectiveness. The most significant benefits are often seen in the sporting world, but it is the same arena that can be most negatively affected by adrenaline.
An agglomeration of sport studies has found that adrenaline benefits sporting performance for a sustained period. But if adrenaline reaches a certain limit, the performer becomes overstimulated. This over-stimulation then leads to a dramatic drop in performance. This is why some performers will freeze when they get in the ring or octagon and are facing one of their biggest fights. Or, on the other hand, why some fighters make elementary mistakes early. They are dealing with their supercharged adrenaline rather than thinking about their game plan.