From riding the world's most intense roller coasters to watching horror films, we've gotta admit: Sometimes we get a kick out of being scared. But why is getting the bejeebers scared out of us so much fun? According to the TED-Ed video above, it might be because fear actually feels good.
According to the video, when our fight-or-flight response is triggered, our bodies release certain chemicals that prepare for the danger ahead. Think back to caveman days: If there was a threat — say a hungry tiger lurking nearby — those chemicals gave us energy to survive and also protected us from feeling pain.
This response puts everything else on hold — no more worrying about work or bills. You're pain-free, alert, and feeling very similarly to how you would during other positive high-arousal states, like excitement, happiness, and sex.
Obviously if you really were a caveman trying to outrun a hungry tiger, you'd most likely not be having a whole lot of fun. But when you're in a safe environment like your own home in front of a TV screen watching The Shining, the natural high can be pretty enjoyable.
Not a fan of being scared? That's because we're all wired a little differently. Even if your friends love roller coasters, your body might react to the fight-or-flight chemicals a little differently. But no matter which way you swing, we all have one thing in common: Fear makes people come together. In fact, seeing your friends screaming and laughing on a roller coaster makes you want to do the same.
So the next time you find yourself screaming your lungs out, try to enjoy the complexities of the human body and mind. (And remember that tiny spider is waaay more afraid of you than you are of him.)