Scream Therapy: The Mental Health Benefits of Horror Movies
Scream till anyone notice
By Techno Trace - October 20, 2021 - In Blog, MENTAL WELLNESS
Watching horrors movies help treat anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The treatment works by retraining the amygdala— the fear center of the brain—through a process of activating it via exposure to the feared object or situation.
Watching horror movies can not reduce depression totally but it can help to boost your mood. People with depression go through decreases in their adrenaline levels, so the levels can be replenished when you watch a scary movie. When you watch horror films you allow yourself to be completely immersed in the experience.
This can reduce your stress level a bit. One of the best benefits of watching horror movies is that they can help you to face your fears and phobias head-on.
In an interview for the documentary “Fear in the Dark” (1991), acclaimed director Wes Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street“, “Scream”) famously stated that “horror films don’t create fear, they release it.”
“In the 30s, there was a lot of anxiety about what people consumed and whether it transformed them — especially children,” said Andrew Scahill, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the English department at the University of Colorado Denver and the author of “The Revolting Child in Horror Cinema.”
“There was a worry over what people get titillated by in the horror genre,” Scahill said. “Early criticism on film came from this place where horror cinema was seen as enabling sadism, essentially — that it gave flesh and body to fantasies that should not be reinforced.”
Building resilience scream by scream
Scahill said, “Thinking about what [horror] offers us, how could that be in any way pleasurable? Why would we subject ourselves to negative affect? It seems counterintuitive to any evolutionary picture of humanity”.
He also mentioned, “Today, we have what we would call ‘surrogacy theory,’ which essentially says horror films allow us, in a way, to control our fear of death by giving us a surrogate experience.”
“Our body is telling us we’re in danger, but we know that we’re safe in these cushy theater seats, allowing yourself to be triggered in a safe environment can be a process of therapy.” Oklee said, during shooting for a horror movie, “[Horror] can teach us how to handle real-world stress better” .
When you watch horror films, you scream out of sudden scene and fear, it believes that yelling is good exercise for your lungs and liver. According to Dr. Nan Lu, a master herbalist and Qigong master, the energy that feeds the liver's well-being needs to flow, but it can get obstructed by frustration.
The concept of using horror films as a “contained trigger” to affect a form of release of stress and anxiety is no doubt one of the easiest methods to improve your mental health by enjoying the process.
Horror movies can help us face our fears
“I just knew that there was some faceless, invisible monster that was attacking her,” Barkan said of the experience. “Horror became a way to face that monster and, more importantly, to see that monster, that evil, vanquished.”.
He also said, “I’ve learned that so many people see and use horror in so many different, unique, and beautiful ways to help their mental health, the ways that we engage with horror are as diverse and amazing as the genre itself.”
Horror is not just an entertaining means of dealing with what scares us; it provides the perfect vehicle for marginalized voices to tell their stories with all their visceral truth.
Psychology claims that, if you watch horror movies on daily basis, you won’t fear any situation in life, even if you are walking alone on the road or facing rejection. It helps you to face the truth and fight against your fear.
Horror movies create scenarios that we will probably face in your life, so if you watch those regularly it will help your mind to prepare for unexpected situations.
Feeling fear in a safe space can be a big relief
In May of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, horror sales on the digital movie app Movies Anywhere were up 194 percent from the previous May.
At a time when the world was facing horrors of its own, audiences still looked to genre material for escape- source, Business Insider. Oaklee believes, “It’s not unusual for people to be drawn to thrillers or horror movies in times of high stress,” he said. “Horror movies force you to be hyper-focused.
Oklee stated in a 2020 study that, horror movies can negatively affect some people, particularly those who are more sensitive to anxiety, as what they’re watching on screen can increase feelings of stress and panic.
It feels so weirdly comfortable to find yourself safe when you have the feeling of scariness.
Find a therapist for your anxiety symptoms with BetterHelp
Horror movies can be helpful to reduce your mental stress but this is not the ultimate cure. Another important thing, it may not work for you. There is no such proven evidence that guarantees us the success of this technic. So, before things get any worse, it will be a better choice to consult a therapist.
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