What are you afraid of? Do you like feeling scared? It turns out that a lot of people do!!!
Over the last several years a number of studies have been done to examine why people like being scared.
As it turns out, some people like being scared because when they feel afraid their brain releases a significant amount of dopamine and this produces a good feeling in the mind and body. It is sort of like a fear-high. Dopamine is also often produced in this manner when people seek adventurous thrills such as skydiving, racing, etc.
What is interesting is that most people who enjoy being scared like to have an awareness that they are actually not in harms way when the scare comes. Even if this is on a sub-conscious level, enjoying a fright is built on a feeling a safety.
In addition to feeling knowing that the situation is not truly life threatening, people tend to enjoy being scared more when they are with others. In essence, being scared is often seen as a bonding experience. Being scared reminds us the we can overcome scary situations. Being scared and getting through it boosts our confidence. Making it through a scare with others shows us that we are stronger together and that we can watch out for one another.
But…”Not everyone likes being scared though, even in a safe place. For some a racing heart, sweaty palms, and the grueling weight of anticipation is just too much to tolerate, let alone purposefully induce.” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-we-scream/201510/why-we-love-be-scared).
So what does this have to do with Christianity?
God created us with a wide range of emotions. Fear is a part of the emotional spectrum and it is natural to be afraid. Fear reminds us of our mortality. It reminds us of our need for a savior. It reminds us of the value of community–of being with people we can trust.
Fear reminds us that there are other spiritual forces at work in the world around us. It also reminds us that we are called to overcome adversity.
Whether you are afraid of trick-or-treating, haunted houses, escape rooms, or horror films, engaging in these kinds of activities with others can be good for the soul.
I would not suggest forces anyone to participate in the scary if the person is one who does not enjoy it (even when it is safe), but for those out their who want the rush of feeling afraid, this Halloween while you seek your thrills do so with the mindfulness that we are stronger together and that God created us for community. Make new bonds and strengthen old ones, have fun, and feel alive. God created you to live and experience your emotions fully!!!