The Social Attraction of Fires
So, what exactly attracts us as humans to fires? This is a question that researchers continue to debate. However, one possible theory is that it’s in our evolutionary DNA. A study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology suggests that modern-day humans have evolved over time to develop a relaxing response to fires. The study found that people become calmer, more relaxed, and more sociable when gathering around a fire. Christopher Lynn, professor at the University of Alabama said that prehistoric cavemen and women would gather around campfires to make friends; thus, giving them a survival advantage in this otherwise unforgiving time.
Feeling stressed? Well, you aren’t alone. Many, many adults & children these days experience physical symptoms as a result of stress. These symptoms may include high blood pressure, insomnia, increased sweating, nausea and fatigue. A study in the US evaluated the blood pressure of 226 adults before and after experiencing a simulation of a fire including flickering light and crackling sounds. The results showed a decrease in blood pressure, a response attributed to evolution. Those exposed to the fire, complete with sound for 15 min; their systolic blood pressure dropped on average by 6 points and their diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3. So the good news is that social interaction, such as gathering around a fire pit with your friends or family, can lower stress levels — all without the use of drugs! By gathering around a fire with other people, you’ll experience an innate sense of relaxation, lowering your stress levels while improving your mood.