by Kyle Beard on Monday, December 9th, 2019
Fear is an emotion that many people want to avoid. So, why do we want to experience fear when we watch horror movies and go on rollercoasters? There are people who want to experience the rush that fear has on you since we perceive this rush in a positive light compared to dangerous situations.
Fear starts in the amygdala, which detects emotional stimuli, and reaches towards the rest of our body to better defend ourselves against danger. A fear response in the amygdala as a result of a threat activates areas to prepare our motor functions to be in the fight-or-flight response. It also triggers stress hormones and the sympathetic nervous system. The brain becomes hyperalert, pupils dilate, and your breathing accelerates. Your heart rate and blood pressure also rise and your gastrointestinal system slows down. The hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex help the brain interpret the perceived threat to know whether the threat we are seeing is real.
Just like with animals, we are able to learn fear through personal experiences like if we have been attacked before by people or animals. We also become scared through spoken or written words. If we learn through a sign or label that something is dangerous, a fear response will be triggered. We learn to be safe through observation or if the written word talks of something being safe. For example, we know a particular dog is safe if we see a bunch of people playing with the dog, making us no longer scared.
When something scary happens, we are on high alert and focus only on that. When we experience frightening things with other people, our emotions can be positively contagious. If you are on a rollercoaster and you see your friend go from screaming to laughing, you feel like you cannot help but feel the same. When we are able to recognize what is and is not a real threat, you end up enjoying the thrill of the moment and feel more in control. Overcoming this initial “fight-or-flight” rush will leave us feeling satisfied, reassured of our safety, and braver than before. Remember that everyone is different in regards to how they perceive fear and danger. The best kind of fear your body can handle is the one where you are in the most control.
Located in Centennial, Colorado, Restoration Therapy works with patients who are struggling with addiction, intimacy disorders, and trauma who are seeking treatment. In order to offer patients a more holistic view on healthy sexuality, Restoration Therapy offers individualized and group therapy, workshops, psycho-educational classes, and more to restore the harm brought on by addiction and intimacy issues. For more information, please call us at (720) 446-6585 as we are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.