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Why Do We Enjoy Being Scared?

Why do we enjoy being scared?

If we’re in real danger, we focus on survival not on fun. But when we trigger this high arousal response in safe place, our brain switches over to enjoying the natural state of being scared. It’s why people on roller coasters can go from screaming to laughing within moments.

Horror movies, rollar coaster, scary video games, bungee jumping, ghost stories, Halloween. Why is it that people enjoy such things that scare them? As somewhere right now people are lining up to scare themselves , maybe with a thrill ride or horror movie. Many consider this behaviour fascinating and question, ‘Why there is so fun being getting scared?’

Fear has a bad rap, but it’s not all bad. As some people think fear to be a negative emotion but it’s not bad in all cases. Fear is also the reason of human survival. Imagine two cavemen, one who feels fear when they hear a rustle bushes and runs for his life while the other one thinks it’s probably nothing and didn’t fear. I’m sure you can imagine which one is more likely to survive. So fear is a very useful emotion but still it’s not a very pleasant one. Imagine if you were one of the cavemen that managed to escape the lion, while a moment ago you were absolutely terrified but now you feel great. I mean you just stared death in the face and survived, it’s kind of good feeling. So the sense of relief is just one of the reasons that people seek fear.

When you fear, different things happen to your body. Your palm sweats, your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, your breath quickens, your muscles tense, your attention focuses and your brain emits dopamine and adrenaline. These responses are similar what you would expect to see in a person in positive and high arousal states like experiencing intense excitement and happiness.

Actually the difference lies in the context. If we’re in real danger, we focus on survival not on fun. But when we trigger this high arousal response in safe place, our brain switches over to enjoying the natural state of being scared. It’s why people on roller coasters can go from screaming to laughing within moments. Your body is already in a euphoric state, you are just relabeling the experience. Brain reacts differently to predictable threat compared to an unpredictable threat, one of which allows us to enjoy something scary. So when you know you are safe you enjoy fear.

As there are two types of people one who doesn’t like being sacred where the other types do.

Why do some people hate being sacred?

Because it’s scary. We don’t all release large amount of dopamine when in a state of fear. A certain fear are gaining from childhood and if we don’t realise that it is fake it can remain in adulthood also. Such people don’t have that much of bravery and wit power and they feel this fake fear as the real one. This also explains why some people are prone to thrilling experience than others.

And why some people enjoy the stomach-drop sensation when they are in a giant wheel or why some scream with delight in a haunted house but retreat in terror in actual cemetery. This is true because we know we’re not really in any danger.

Like in the haunted house, Our brain may know the zombies aren’t real but our bodies tell us something else, that makes us feel the fear a real. Fear brings more than just fun. Doing things that we’re afraid of can give us a nice boast of self esteem like any personal challenge whether it’s a stage performance or running a race. When we make it through the end we feel a sense of accomplishment. So when we make it through alive the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment also feel real. This is a great evolutionary adaptation. People with right balance of bravery and intelligence who know when to push the fear away and when to retreat are rewarded with survival.

Finally, fear can bring people together. Emotion can be contagiou when you see your friend scream and laugh you feel compelled to do the same. This is because we make sense of what our friends are experiencing by recreating the experiences ourselves. In fact, the part of the brain that is active when our friend screams is also active in us when we watch them. This not only intensifies our own emotional experience but makes us feel closer to those we’re with. The feeling of closeness during the time of fear is aided by the hormone oxytocin released during fight or flight.

So fear is a very strong emotional experience which get stored in our memory really well and our brain don’t forget this experience.

This is the reason when people do bungee jumping get terrified before jump but as soon as they land instantly wanted to do it all over again. So fear left a sense of satisfaction that makes you feel great and that’s why you want to do these things over and over again.

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Shreya Sharma

Hi, this is shreya sharma, an ambivert, creative and fun loving girl whose hobby switches between writing and crafting. She is Economics graduate from kalindi college, Delhi university.

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