Adrenaline Experiences: The Science Behind the Thrill

Whether it’s finding a great deal on a product you really want, or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new, everybody loves a bit of a thrill. This sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure is hard to replicate by yourself, often needing some spontaneous stimulation to make you feel a certain way. This stimulus can be anything from seeing something unexpected occur or even being scared of something.

But what exactly is a thrill and how is it linked with adrenaline? Read on to find out more.

The Science of Adrenaline

Adrenaline is a hormone and medication which in the body helps to regulate visceral functions such as respiration. In humans, it is produced by the adrenal glands and by some neurons in the lower part of the brain stem. It is key to flight-or-flight response, helping to increase heart output, blood flow to muscles, pupil dilation response and blood sugar level.

An adrenaline rush starts off in the amygdala at the base of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for assessing new and unknown situations that could be happening. When it detects that something with some kind of risk is involved, the amygdala will release a surge of dopamine, endorphins, adrenaline, testosterone and other chemicals to try and protect the body against the alleged risk. At this moment the whole body becomes hyper-focused on what is happening.

Every person is different, so the exact response from your brain will always differ. Some people tend to perceive threats less so will seek out bigger thrills, while some who do perceive threats easily will be satisfied with only a small thrill. Overall though the testosterone boost will cause vision to narrow, and the adrenaline increases the heart rate. The heart beating faster will send more oxygen to the muscles and the brain.

People have been known to do things outside the norm of human performance while in the middle of an adrenaline rush, and some even say it is like having superpowers for a brief period of time. It should be noted this adrenaline rush usually does not last very long, with most cases the feeling only lasting less than 60 seconds. After the feeling fades, there is a surge of mood-boosting chemicals. This feeling and the chemical aftermath are what lead people to enjoy seeking out thrills so much. The experience can be likened to a drug. You feel the highest of highs, and then know it’s a high because of the crash afterwards.

Scientists believe that this adrenaline rush is coded in our genes and our nervous system due to the activity of our ancestors. Civilization used to be very hunting-focused, with this being an early thrill-seeking activity. Tracking, fighting and killing large animals was a risky business, so this is why a fight-and-flight response and adrenaline surge are so key. Back then adrenaline was vital to survival, but now it is most often a pleasurable thing to seek out.

Am I An Adrenaline Junkie?

Everybody loves a bit of a thrill, but the people who actively search for this thrill are often called adrenaline junkies. This is a person who enjoys intense activities to try and generate an adrenaline rush. Marvin Zuckerman began studying those seeking thrills back in the 1960s and identified four types of sensation seekers. People who are looking for adventure, those looking for new experiences, those who are bored easily and those looking to lose their inhibitions.

They are all looking for slightly different things when seeking their thrill, but the payoff they seek is the same type of adrenaline rush. Researchers have also created the sensation-seeking scale, which categorises how different people pursue sensation based on their tolerance for exhilaration as well as brain makeup and chemistry. High-sensation seekers actively spend time trying to find a thrill, while low-sensation seekers will actively try to avoid new experiences. Most people fall in the middle of this scale, but an adrenaline junkie will be a high-sensation seeker. Factors that affect the tolerance for exhilaration include the amount of white and grey matter in the brain as well as mutations in certain genes.

There are a few certain personality traits that point to you being a thrill seeker. Examples include creativity, curiosity, a drive to pursue challenges, spontaneity, flexibility and impulsivity. You might think that being an adrenaline junkie sounds like an addiction, and while it is not classed as a mental disorder, people can go through withdrawal symptoms if they don’t do any thrilling activities in a while. It’s not something to worry about unless you begin to put your safety or the safety of others in danger.

Types of Thrill-Seeking Activities

There are plenty of ways to safely get your fix, like the examples below.

Skydiving

Skydiving is often seen as the ultimate thrill. This is because everything in your body is trying to tell you that you are falling and most likely going to die. Falling through the sky at breakneck speeds directly after being thrown from a moving plane is thrilling, no matter how much the thought scares you. Even once the parachute opens and your descent slows, your body will still be full of adrenaline until you’re safely back on the ground.

Extreme Sports

Sometimes normal sports are just not enough of a thrill for some people, who will instead turn to extreme sports. Whitewater rafting or motorcycle racing takes sports to another level, constantly being put in high-adrenaline situations where you feel like you are at risk.

Unique Hobbies

While some find bird-watching or video games thrilling, we’re talking about more unique hobbies. An example of this is storm chasing. This is where those seeking a thrill will actively seek out a large storm, tornado or hurricane and try to experience it up close.

Dangerous Jobs

Adrenaline junkies will sometimes decide that seeking out thrills some of the time is not enough for them, so will hunt out the thrill in their career as well. High-pressure jobs such as being a firefighter or soldier are examples of high-thrill jobs, as you can suddenly be plunged into a situation which is bound to get your adrenaline pumping.

Theme Parks

The thrill of theme parks is something that most adrenaline seekers love. Even though you know you are safe, exhilaration comes from experiencing a risk you know you will survive. Logic says you are safe, but the speed and activity occurring are warning signs for your body and activate this response.

Crime

While not recommended, crime can be seen as a thrill-seeking activity. Even something as simple as stealing a chocolate bar from a shop can produce the exhilarating feeling an adrenaline junkie seeks.

High-Adrenaline Activities With Honister Slate

Seek the thrill with high-adrenaline activities from Honister Slate. We pride ourselves on being the home of adventure in the lake district, with various thrill-seeking activities that will get the adrenaline pumping. We have a sprawling ground full of activities for you to enjoy, including extreme canyoning, abseiling, cliff camping, canyoning and more.

One of our highlights is our Via Ferrata Extreme experience. This is a three-hour adrenaline-fuelled adventure that will take you across all manners of thrilling challenges including vertical ladder climbs, Burma bridges, mountain edges, sky ladders and overhang descents. You’ll be fully secured to the mountain by cable, but this experience is not for the faint of heart. But the thrill is worth it, as you’ll experience some of the most spectacular sights that the Lake District has to offer.

For those who want to go outside their comfort zone but aren’t feeling as adventurous, we also have our Via Ferrata Classic, which will take you along the original miner’s track and the steep outer incline of Fleetwith Pike. For a uniquely thrilling experience, try our cliff camping, where you will spend the night secured 500 feet above Honister pass, where in the morning you’ll witness our world-famous sunrise.

Adrenaline Junkie? Contact Us Today

Now you’ve heard a bit more about what we have on offer, get in touch with Honister Slate to book a high-adrenaline activity today. Come alone, with friends, family or even on a work team-building activity! You can have a whole day of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime fun in the heart of the beautiful Lake District.

Give us a call today at 017687 77230 if you have any questions, or visit our website to book your specific activities or get an all-day pass.