Dare to be Scared?
Why some people enjoy being afraid
October 15, 2021
Panic. Terror. Danger. All ways to describe fear. All seemingly unpleasant emotions. So why do so many people experiencing them?
Junior Mya Reardon falls into this category as someone who loves horror movies and being afraid. Recently, she went to a Halloween Haunt at Kings Island. It is an event very popular with SHS students that is filled with creepy clowns, jump scares, haunted houses, and all-around fear-provoking encounters.
A park filled with most people’s worst nightmares. But despite being in a constant state of fear, Reardon somehow had a great time.
Events like these profit off of people’s desire to be afraid. It may seem contradictory, but there are many reasons that this phenomenon exists.
First of all, many people enjoy scary events and movies because their brains can recognize the truth: they are not actually in danger. Having a safety net to fall into and realizing that there is no imminent threat takes away any real reason for dread.
This is the explanation Reardon gave for her love of being afraid. “Even though I’m scared I know that I’m still safe in the comfort of my own home, and can still get that adrenaline rush.”
The adrenaline rush Reardon describes is another reason the horror industry is so beloved. Psychology Today describes this sensation as a “sense of euphoria” and a “gratifying sense of relief and subsequent well-being.” This also explains why thrill-seekers are inclined to do things like skydiving, riding roller coasters, or jumping off cliffs. Completing something that seemed impossible before creates feelings of freedom and relief, making the experience so enjoyable.
A final explanation for our affinity for being afraid is the feeling of strength and confidence coming out on the other side of something scary. “Anytime I watch something scary I feel so accomplished when it’s over,” explained Reardon. That sense of achievement certainly makes a scary event more satisfying.
Essentially, our willingness to watch our worst nightmares come to life on the big screen boils down to realizing we’re not in danger, feeling an adrenaline rush, and feeling confident once the fear is over. And that’s why while many of us would much prefer staying at home, away from jump scares, others might dare to be scared.