Need stress and anxiety relief? Try to watch a horror movie
In partnership with The Fresh Toast
Horror movies are stressful experiences in themselves, but ironically they make a lot of people feel less stressed.
For non-horror movie viewers, horror movie fans are strange people. They find it hard to understand why anyone would like to watch serial killers hunt down teenagers or a girl get demon possessed. But there is a science to watching horror movies, a science that, when understood, comes with a comfort and a sense of security. Watching horror movies is scary right now. Afterwards, it’s cathartic.
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Dr Andrew Scahill spoke with Health Line on this popular phenomenon, discussing a bit of the history of horror and how experts observing the genre have shifted their perspective over time. While they initially thought that horror would be a bad influence on people, especially children, today there are other schools of thought that offer different perspectives.
“Today we have what we would call the ‘surrogacy theory’, which basically says that horror movies allow us, in a way, to control our fear of death by giving us a substitution experience, ”Scahill explained. “Our bodies tell us we’re in danger, but we know we’re safe in those plush theater seats. Allowing yourself to be triggered in a safe environment can actually be a process of therapy. “
In 2021, when there is something to be afraid of and worry about, it might sound crazy that people are watching more horror content, but it is true. According to Business intern, in 2020, sales of horror films increased by 194% compared to the previous year. The most viewed film was “Contagion,” which tells the story of a global pandemic. At the time, many experts believed that “Contagion” gave people a blueprint for how a pandemic would play out in the real world.
For some, horror movies provide a distraction from real world problems. Coltan Scrivner, a pHD candidate at the University of Chicago spoke with CNET and said that many anxious people love horror for this reason. “My research shows that, on average, people with anxiety are Following probably horror fans.
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While movies are stressful and put our bodies in a fight-or-flight state, a lot of people feel safe because everything is happening on a screen. They could learn to use these moments as learning experiences, so that their bodies can better deal with stress when faced with a real situation.
You can’t force people to enjoy certain types of content, but if you’re feeling more anxious and stressed out than usual, it wouldn’t hurt to give horror movies a try. You might discover a new trait about yourself and a mechanism for coping with your real-life problems.
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