Whether it's a roller coaster, haunted house, or horror movie, people love to scare themselves for entertainment. It might seem odd, but it turns out making yourself feel fear actually comes with some decent perks.
In this video from the TED-Ed YouTube channel, Margee Kerr, a sociologist who studies fear, explains what happens to your brain when you scare yourself for fun. Fear, as it turns out, is actually pretty good for you when you can control the dose. Here's a few reasons why:
- Fear feels pretty good: Your brain's fight or flight response system puts you in an energised, pain-free state of total mental presence. Because you know you're not in danger, you can enjoy the "high" of being scared. It's similar to being really happy, excited, or even sexually aroused.
- Fear can boost your self-esteem: Getting through something you think is scary does the same thing to your brain as when you finish any other type of challenge, like running a race or finishing a long book. You did it, you survived, and you feel accomplished.
- Fear brings people together: We make sense of what other people are experiencing in high emotional states by recreating the experience ourselves. If you're friend is scared and screaming, you'll want to match their mental state and scream too, and that can create bonding experiences.
So there you have it. Not only is being scared in a controlled environment a lot of fun, it's actually good for you and your relationships.
Why is being scared so fun? [YouTube]