Thrills and Spills...
It's late July 2018, we're having a break from a monumental heatwave and I'm sitting at my desk and procrastinating. That means that I'm finding as many things as possible to do, instead of what I'm meant to be doing.
This is nothing new. A lot of people procrastinate, and I'm very good at it. The great thing is that it means that I get things like my filing done, and things that I otherwise often don't get time for.
As I was busy doing my filing, my phone rang, and it was BBC Radio Derby, asking me to go on the Sally Pepper show and speak about why we do things to frighten ourselves. Good - another way to procrastinate!
When you enter a situation that isn't familiar, your brain tells your body to get ready by releasing adrenaline. The adrenaline increases your heart rate, and puts you into a state of high alert. Within a few seconds, you assess the situation, and if it's a dangerous situation, your brain will release cortisol - the stress hormone. This can be a good thing, as it can help you to leave a situation quickly, or it can help you to focus better on the task in hand, but this isn't meant to be a prolonged state, and prolonged stress can lead to poor sleep, anxiety and possibly depression.
Anyway, I didn't go on Radio Derby to talk about the down sides of adrenaline, because when you assess the situation and find it to be non-threatening, if it is likely to be something enjoyable, your brain releases oxytocin, dopamine and seratonin. These are all happy chemicals, and when being pushed around your body at speed by the adrenaline, bring feelings of thrill and excitement.
This is why theme park rides can be exciting. The risk to you is calculated. You know it will be thrilling and scary, but essentially, you know you will be safe, and so you push yourself and experience the rush of those wonderful feelings.
So essentially, we put ourselves into scary situations because we like it. We like the feeling of being thrilled! So that was my moment on BBC Radio Derby today.
Now, what was I meant to be doing...