TAMPA, Fla. - A little fear could be a good thing.
Halloween is the time of year when we let our fear run wild. Many enjoy scary attractions, like Murder House, a spooky experience in Tampa for adults, but could the scares be good for you?
"They come out to experience intensity and fear in a controlled environment," said Shane Downs, who opened Murder House prior to the pandemic.
"When we get scared that part of our brain that fires up the fight, flight or freeze response can also connect with boosting our neurotransmitters and our hormones from our pleasure centers, things like adrenaline and dopamine get fired up so we can have a euphoric sense when we're scared and I think that's why people enjoy doing things like that," said Dr. Dae Sheridan, a licensed mental health counselor.
And fear could actually be addictive.
"We know people who are adrenaline junkies who want more and more experiences to get excited because just like a drug or alcohol. If you use that over and over you need more of that to get the same effect," said Dr. Sheridan.
"I feel that haunted houses are a great way to let go of your anxiety and really be able to cope with stress that comes from our daily lives," said Downs.
If you're going to a fear-based attraction with a group, it can be bonding.
"For that moment you become a family with those people because, in that moment, you are surviving the same experience together," said Downs.
"We're going to attribute that getting out alive and doing it together to the people around us and not necessarily to the fear-based experience that we went through", said Dr. Sheridan.
However, if feeling afraid isn't your thing, don't succumb to peer pressure.
"The fear response is going to be different in every person, so if you're prone to depression if you're prone to anxiety or you're prone to panic then I would not recommend a fear-based exercise in order to change or boost your mood it may backfire on you and provide more worry, nervousness, anxiety," said Dr. Sheridan.
But if you think you could handle it, dare to take a chance.
"Those new novel experiences can get our brains and our friendships fired up in a way that we didn't have before, so go for it," said Dr. Sheridan.