Why surprise brings us pleasure

Two surprise experts (yes, that's a thing) break down the science of the unexpected for you.

Posted on 7/18/2015 12:09:29 PM

Checking your letterbox can be quite a dull affair: bills, flyers from your local pizza place or superstore, then probably more bills. This is one of the many reasons why we've created Pick N Dazzle and have come up with our sign up service that could put a little spring in your step as you go to grab the mail. If you don’t already know, Pick N Dazzle is a monthly delivery of, well, beauty products from diverse brands featured in every edition. It is an amazing hot red box that you give yourself every month, and if you’re not super-chuffed with your Beauty Picks you can even return them and get your money back. Although, with the gorgeous brands we have on board, we reckon that’s pretty unlikely.

Why get excited over beauty products that you can buy from the store yourself? It’s less about the money (the combined price of your Beauty Picks is much lesser than the price of the products on the market) and more about the act of being surprised. So let us break down the science of surprise for you. Here’s what we learned.

Surprise brings us pleasure.

Notice how an unexpected flower delivery brings you more joy than buying the flowers yourself? Or how chocolates received as a gift taste better? This is because being surprised activates the pleasure centers in our brain and gives us a nice shot of dopamine, which makes experiences more enjoyable.

Surprise intensifies our emotions.

As we all know, not all surprises are created equal

—nor do they have a happy ending—so our brains don’t necessarily love all surprises, but they do take all surprises seriously. “Surprises point us to dangers, opportunities, and new information,” said Renninger. “Research shows that surprise intensifies our emotions by about 400 percent, which explains why we love positive surprises and hate negative surprises.” This is why an unexpected proposal or a gorgeous beauty pack you receive right at your door feels like the greatest moment of your life, but an unexpected firing can feel like the lowest.

Surprise improves our mental health.

As we mentioned, surprise triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical that can do wonders for our brain, including stave off bad feelings. “When we invite surprise into our lives on a regular basis, we elevate our mood,” said Luna at a TEDx talk. Not only that, she says we build a tolerance for uncertainty, which in turn reduces anxiety.

All of these factors help our mental health, even reducing depression. “When it comes to depression in particular, surprise has a way of interrupting unhealthy rumination patterns, opening the door to new thoughts and behaviors,” said Luna.

Want to feel the power of surprise in your life? There's nothing easier than that! Just fill out your Beauty Profile and sign up for our beauty service. We will surprise you every month with the best beauty products curated for your lifestyle and taste, and delivered right to your door! 

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