Stress = Fun

I had this thought a few weeks ago: Stress is fun. Why, I have no idea, but think about it– what’s so appealing about roller coasters? The fact that you feel like you’re going to fly out of your seat every time you hit a curve, or that the entire thing drops straight down suddenly, making you think you’re going to die like a skydiver without a parachute, strapped into a go-cart. How would you describe this?

One word: stressful. Or– using a word some people think is a synonym to stress– fun.

Why are horror movies fun to watch for some? It causes stress. Why is racecar driving fun? Stress.

Of course, there are some things that are stressful but aren’t fun, for example, being chased uphill through three-foot-deep snowdrifts in flip flops by three beings each vaguely resembling a snail with dandruff. Fun? To watch, maybe (because of stress); to read, probably; but to live, absolutely not, unless they wouldn’t mind you laughing at them. And if they did mind, well, that’s just more stress for you, right?

But think about it– Stress is fun! Skydiving? Stressful. Fighting? Stressful. NaNoWriMo? Stressful, though mildly. Even piano recitals are stressful, and therefore fun. Of course, some people can’t handle stress at all: Quirk, for example. Every time he tries to run a race, he gets out in front, then thinks everyone behind him is out to kill him, and he buries his head in the sand. (It isn’t always sand, however; one time it was rock. That was a big hospital bill.)

I’ve kind of rambled here, using the same thoughts again and again, but I think I got my point across. Your thoughts?

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  1. I never realized this before but…you’re right. Of course, I wouldn’t say that stress before midterm exams (like right now) is hugely fun, but the other types of stress you detailed? You’ve got it. I’d say we as a species enjoy being entertained by imagining or being involved in a pseudo-dangerous situation, but I’m not a psychologist, so I won’t. Unless I just did. Everyone can throw rotten tomatoes at me now.

  2. Stress and fear are different things. The reason those activities are fun is they release a hormone called adrenaline into your system, adrenaline is the stuff that makes you feel high after those situations (especially something like skydiving). Stress doesn’t cause your body to release adrenaline, just other hormones that aren’t as enjoyable (including one that can cause your hair to fall out). Yes a certain amount of stress helps you perform well, but it sure as hell isn’t fun.

  3. Erin

     /  January 10, 2012

    I agree with you on everything except the piano recitals – for me, piano recitals are torture.

  4. Interesting thought. I’d say that it’s not the stress that’s fun, it’s the closeness of the danger (I think you said that somewhere in this post), or cheating death that’s fun. Though I’m not sure how NaNoWriMo would be a life or death situation. For some characters, certainly, but not for the writer. Although you could say that it is a life or death situation for the writer’s sanity. But in my case Sanity died a long while before I started NaNoWriMo.

    • Thanks for the thoughts! I like what you’re saying. Some people feel stress about NaNo because they think they can’t finish. I didn’t, personally, but I’ve heard of people who have.

      • Yeah, I don’t remember being too stressed about NaNo either, but my original word count was really low, and I ended up doubling it. And I was having too much fun to be stressed.

        Also, I just heard about NaNoEdMo, National novel editing month. The goal is fifty hours of editing time for the entire month of March. I think I might give it a try.

      • I was never stressed.
        NaNoEdmo sounds good. I’m not going to do it, however. I like editing on my own time, which right now is nonexistent. I haven’t even had the time to glance at my novel.

  5. I think something’s wrong with that equation…


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