Scary activities make one stronger

  • Research suggests that going through an extreme haunted attraction provides gains similar to tackling a difficult challenge. There's a sense of uncertainty, physical exertion, and an obstacle to overcome. On the other side, there is a sense of achievement.
  • Scary experiences could serve as a recalibration of what should cause stress. After a planned scary experience, difficulties may seem like no big deal in comparison.
  • Because you're not in real danger, you can choose to observe your reaction and gain greater insight into yourself.

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Why Is it Fun to Be Frightened?

livescience.com

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Why people want to intentionally scare themselves

People enjoy being scared out of their skin in a controlled environment. They will flock to attractions that can guarantee that they will get a fright.

  • Participants in a study reported a significantly higher mood and feeling less anxious and tired directly after their trip through a haunted attraction.
  • They also reported feeling that they challenged their personal fears and learned more about themselves.

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Haunted attractions, horror movies and other forms of scary entertainment all share the same components that help to have a fun scary time.

  • First, you have to choose to engage.
  • Try to gather some friends to engage with you in the activities. This will intensify your own emotional experience and make it more fun. It can also create rewarding social bonds.

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Feeling rewarded

According to a 2008 study, dopamine is responsible for feelings of accomplishment and rewards, but it's also been linked to averse emotions like fear and dread.

People who enjoy fearful or risky situations tend to get more out of being scared out of their wits because they end up with higher levels of dopamine. Adrenaline, which is also released during dangerous moments, is also perceived as enjoyable by some.

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3 psychological reasons we enjoy being scared out of our minds

businessinsider.com

Reasons for enjoying or hating scary movies
  • Sensation seeking individuals may enjoy scary movies because it will elevate the heart rate and make the body feel as though it needs to expend energy.
  • Highly sensitive people can be easily overstimulated by their environment and also tend to be more empathetic. This results in a more intense physiological reaction to violent or scary movies.
  • Childhood experiences affect how someone feels about being scared. People who had positive experiences when they were young already have an internal concept that frames certain scary activities in an exciting way.
  • Horror movies are enjoyable for some people when they’re shared with loved ones. It can create a social bonding experience.

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What Loving Horror Movies Says About Your Personality

huffpost.com

Why people enjoy being scared

A recent study looked at why people enjoy a good fright and found that it creates a sort of euphoria that lowers stress levels.

There seems to be a sweet spot for enjoyment where the fright is not too scary nor too weak, but just enough to be enjoyable.

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Catching fear in a bottle

bigthink.com