The Science Behind Why We Love Getting Scared

The Science Behind Why We Love Getting Scared

With Halloween approaching, I have been wondering: Why do we love "scary" things?
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Halloween is swiftly approaching, and that means a growing number of scary images, haunted houses, and multitudes of scary movies. Many of us wait all year for the scariest of them all, but it's absolutely baffling to see the growing numbers that flock to these attractions yearly. As a culture, why do we love and crave these panicking situations so much?

When we get the living daylights scared out of us, our hearts beat a little faster, our breaths get short, our stomachs drop out of our butts, and our body temperature rises. According to The Atlantic in an interview with sociologist Dr. Margee Kerr, "new research from David Zald shows that people differ in their chemical response to thrilling situations. One of the main hormones released during scary and thrilling activities is dopamine, and it turns out some individuals may get more of a kick from this dopamine response than others do. Basically, some people’s brains lack what Zald describes as “brakes” on the dopamine release and re-uptake in the brain. This means some people are going to really enjoy thrilling, scary, and risky situations while others, not so much." Science experts say it's not odd that people crave to see how far they can go to prove they can handle more anxiety than they thought -- as if college and life, in general, doesn't make us anxious enough.

In addition, hormone levels rise when a person is terror stricken. This can create the love component of our obsession with feeling scared, much like a first kiss can. The moment we get scared, we feel the "flight or fight" reaction that gives us an intense adrenaline rush, making us more emotional.

On a psychological level, we love the forbidden. Take Adam and Eve, for example, they went for that particular apple because they weren't supposed to. Or consider an adolescent girl going for the "bad boy" because it's exactly who she shouldn't be dating. Horror movies, haunted houses, and scary decor allow us to enjoy this feeling but technically still stay safe. This attracts people because it differs from the everyday routine, and creates a thrill factor.

While these attractions give us anxiety, the release of fear at the end is known to lower anxiety levels as well. Go figure.

Finally, spooky stories help us form a strong emotional connection. We, as humans, often question the unknown, and the debate on the existence of paranormal activity is a hot topic. These deep and disprovable topics allow for the brain to contemplate what is beyond 2 inches in front of us as we grow intellectually in our own views. In addition, The Atlantic also backs this by stating that "One of the reasons people love Halloween is because it produces strong emotional responses, and those responses work to build stronger relationships and memories. When we’re happy, or afraid, we’re releasing powerful hormones, like oxcytocin, that are working to make these moments stick in our brain." Overall the emotional connection tells the mind to find relief in the scary moments and crave to relive those connecting moments.

Overall, having attended a haunted house less than 24 hours ago, I feel more relaxed and had a lot of fun. At the time, my heart rate rose, my breath shortened, and my anxiety levels were through the roof, but afterward, I was laughing and feeling happier than ever. I was significantly more relaxed than beforehand.

These components explain why society loves to feel afraid and ultimately clarify why I waited three hours outside to go through a 15-minute attraction.

Personal pleasure can vary, but these scary temptations aren't going anywhere. So pack an extra pair of underwear, bring a friend, and test your limits. You'll feel good after you do.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.thrivelikedave.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2b158d8.jpg

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Ways To Start Pre-Gaming Your Summer Plans Today

A few ways to help you prepare for summer.

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Summer is coming sooner rather than later and we all need to get ready for it.

1. Start making trip plans now.

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If you are wanting to do a getaway over the summer, I would suggest starting to plan for the trip now. The closer you get to the time in which you want to go, the higher the prices of plane tickets and rooms go up. Also planning ahead gives you the chance to pinpoint exactly how you want to spend your trip and not waste your time. Nothing is worse than going on a trip and being stuck at the hotel the whole time because you have no idea what is our there for you to do.

2. Buy sunscreen.

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Do you really want to end up like her? I don't think so. Even if you are the type of person with the mentality that you will only be out in the sun for a short period of time, it doesn't matter. We all need sunscreen. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and we need to take care of it. Think of it this way, do you want to have sunspots when you're old? Or would you rather maintain your youthful appearance for as long as you can?

3. Find a new hobby.

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Let's be honest here for a minute, the majority of us do absolutely nothing over summer break and feel no guilt for it. I have done this several times over the years, and I now look back and realize all the time I wasted not learning or doing something new. If you are working full-time, have summer school, or a summer internship this does not apply to you unless you have the time to do so.

For the rest of y'all, get up and learn something. Learn how to knit. Take a kickboxing class. Try out new hiking places. Start learning another language, or continue practicing the one you learned in school at places where the language is commonly used. Get outside of your comfort zone!

4. De-stress and dispose.

You are so close to summer sometimes it stresses you out trying to get everything done. You need to realize that summer isn't going anywhere and you will get there eventually. Take a deep breathe and keep going. What I like to do is start throwing out the paperwork from this semester that I know I will never use again, don't want, and papers that I don't plan on using for the upcoming final. Disposing of those papers helps me visualize that the semester is almost over.

5. Buy a new swimsuit.

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Before you go out and buy a bunch of new swimsuits, try your old ones on first and see if they fit. Sometimes you just need a new top to match the bottoms that you already have or vice versa. Also, if you know that you are not going to buy a swimsuit for the pool or beach several times throughout the summer, don't waste your money on a new swimsuit. The one from last year that you never wore will do just fine.

Save Money

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The simplest way to understand it is no saving = no money to spend during summer. If you have all kinds of different trips and things you want to do that cost a fee, it would be wise to start saving up for all of your other expenses that you would normally have to pay per month like insurance, phone, or a car payment. I will be in the car payment category since I just bought a new one a few weeks ago.

That being said, my first car payment is due the week I am in New York. I don't want my New York money to be used for a car payment, so I've been taking extra shifts at work to compensate. I have also started going through my closet and selling the items I don't want anymore. There are several resale stores and places online for you to sell your unwanted clothes and other items to put some extra cash in your pocket.

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