Jumping with a parachute, climbing mountains, traveling to inhospitable parts of the world, taking a selfie in high and dangerous settings… Do you identify with any of these practices? If so, chances are, you’re a thrill seeker. This is the type of behavior where you crave that intense adrenaline and dopamine rush that comes from risky experiences.
Feeling pleasure in situations that others process as threatening has the advantage of better stress management. However, if you meet these characteristics, it’s likely that you’re concerned about a certain aspect… Is there a problem with always looking for situations that provoke intense emotions?
Actually, it does have a certain negative component, but also quite positive aspects. In the following article, we’ll give you all the information you need to know.
Signs you’re a thrill seeker
If you’ve never heard of this psychological term, we’ll tell you that it’s more common than you think. If you perceive yourself as a thrill seeker, what you crave is engaging in new or challenging experiences so that your brain rewards you. Those boosters consist of higher doses of neurochemicals, such as endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline.
The figure who has studied this phenomenon the most is psychologist Marvin Zuckerman, professor emeritus at the University of Delaware. His book, Sensation Seeking and Risky Behavior (2007), is the best reference in this field.
Something interesting that stands out from the work of this psychologist is that it indicates that this phenomenon corresponds to a very useful motivated behavior, through which we advance as a species. Also, thanks to this behavior, we were able to overcome numerous obstacles. Below, we’ll describe its main features.
1. You’re an adventure seeker
Who doesn’t like adventures? The truth is that not all people like those challenging experiences that take them out of their comfort zone. However, if there’s one aspect that excites and motivates a thrill seeker and makes them feel alive, it’s taking risks in new settings where everything is unpredictable.
It’s interesting to know that an instrument to evaluate this behavior was published in the Behavioral Sciences magazine. Therefore, we currently have the “Adventure Behavior Seeking Scale (ABSS)” for this purpose. Thanks to this tool, it has been observed that those who present this profile yearn to feel new sensations outdoors. This may be your case.
2. Routine and boredom make you desperate
If you’re a person who needs a high level of stimulation to feel good, your biggest enemy is boredom. Routines and the days when you’re forced to perform the same tasks and you don’t see any incentive or challenge on the horizon are some things that make you desperate.
At the same time, those contexts of monotony and lack of stimuli can take their toll on your state of mind. A work published by Motivation and Emotion highlights that this experience can lead to frustration and signs of depression. This explains why when you feel immersed in the slab of boredom, you immediately seek to start some exciting activity.
3. You’re a seeker of new experiences
There’s a characteristic that may define you if you’re a thrill seeker: Openness to experience. This characteristic is very positive because it defines that behavior that allows you to connect with your environment and learn from it. You like to probe, investigate, talk to people, and soak up new sensations, perspectives, and knowledge.
A work disclosed in Psychological Reports reported something interesting in this regard. Such behavior is associated with an outgoing personality that frequently feels the emotion of wonder. All this conjunction of positive variables translates into a greater sensation of subjective well-being.
Therefore, if you identify with this profile, it’s likely that you’ll experience the following:
- You love meeting new people.
- Changes don’t scare you; you’re always guided by the instinct of curiosity.
- Often, you process reality like a child who’s amazed by the simplest things, those that not everyone sees.
- You try to do different things whenever possible, such as playing sports, traveling, learning new things, among others.
Thrill seekers like to get out of their comfort zone and get involved in activities that bring them joy, euphoria, and satisfaction. However, on occasion, this can lead to risky behaviors that endanger their own lives.
4. You engage in risky behavior
It may be that, in your search to experience strong emotions, you’ve committed more than one imprudence. But, despite this, the feeling of pleasure that taking that risk generated in you was superb. That’s right, one of the particularities of this behavioral pattern is that of assuming challenges and putting yourself, from time to time, in dangerous situations.
These types of behavioral patterns have always attracted the attention of science. In fact, you’ll be interested to know that people who practice extreme sports are a clear example of thrill seekers. So much so that in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, they’re described as “adrenaline junkies.”
Below, we’ll detail what risk behaviors are common in this profile:
- Trying drugs
- Driving very fast
- Practicing extreme sports
- Risky sexual behavior
- Exposing yourself to physical danger just to know what it feels like
5. A need for constant stimulation
A thrill seeker doesn’t just crave adventure, new challenges, and experiencing risks. If there’s one aspect that characterizes this profile, it’s the need to feel constant psychophysiological stimulation. This is a particular feature that you can recognize through the following behaviors:
- You need continued social connection.
- You listen to music whenever possible.
- You lead an active life and you like sports, dancing, and walking, among others.
- It’s possible that you find it difficult to keep still and that you use the classic anti-stress objects.
- You’re satisfied with the stimulation produced by perfumes or the smells of nature.
- You like ASMR videos because of the stimulating feeling they produce in your brain.
6. The pleasure of self-discovery
Self-discovery has to do with the pleasure of becoming aware of certain realities and acquiring new knowledge. This virtue is also attributed to those who seek to experience intense sensations.
Facing constant challenges and experiencing adventures allows you to know yourself better and become aware of the beauty of the world. Some more of its benefits are the following:
- When you take risks, you find out where your limits are.
- This risky but courageous behavior is what has allowed you to know your strengths.
- Your curious outlook has led you to discover people and places that have enriched you as a human being.
7. You’re a resilient person
This information will interest you. If you’re a seeker of intense experiences, one of your abilities is managing stress effectively. Fear doesn’t block you, challenges don’t stop you, and uncertainty, far from holding you back, motivates you even more. This highly beneficial psychological competence is directly linked to resilience.
Resilient people, as highlighted in a study published by BMC Nursing, are able to recover from any stressful scenario and experience. This is undoubtedly an advantage that you have in your favor.
Discover more: Do You Have a Stoic Personality?
The importance of finding a balance
As you’ve surely been able to deduce upon reading this article, there are multiple advantages to this behavioral profile. If you identify with the above traits, you know the pleasure of taking risks, going on adventures, and exposing yourself to new situations. All of this not only gives you large —but brief— doses of adrenaline and endorphins. Also, it allows you to grow as a human being.
However, in all cases, it’s best to maintain an adequate balance between risk and self-protection. Always look for safe situations in which you can feel the tickle of euphoria or the rush of dopamine. Sometimes something as simple as meeting a different person is more exciting than climbing Mount Everest.