Dogs and cats can often be found hiding under the bed during a fireworks display, but most humans enjoy the vibrant spectacle. Why? Research has posited that we enjoy them because they offer the brain an ideal combination of pleasure and pain that excites us and leaves us wanting more, while comforting us with the knowledge that we are safe. In that way, they are similar to a roller coaster; the brain simultaneously feels fear while knowing that the experience is safe.
This produces a state of euphoria known as “eustress.” Eustress has been defined as a “pleasant or curative stress.” Putting the brain in this state means that the fear element has the brain standing at attention, which amplifies the sights and sounds of the pleasurable experience.