Does Watching Scary Movies Actually Make Us Feel…Better?
So, considering this may seem counter-intuitive or just flat out crazy. I mean, horror movies are for adrenaline junkies who are so internally strong that not even existential panic situations portrayed so vividly can't break their unshakable cores, right?
This used to be my point of view. In fact, I was one of those "sensitive" types who used to cry if a movie was even a bit too violent when I was younger. So, the idea that one could get some form of comfort from an on-the-fringe scare fest was just insanity.
As I've gotten a bit older, I've discovered the opposite to be true. It all started when I became a dedicated fan of The Walking Dead. Yeah sure, before I was psychologically numbed out to all of the zombies everywhere, it was a bit disturbing. But I noticed after a few weeks that after watching an episode I would often feel a lift in my mood. I felt more energy and more mentally alert. Now, maybe it was because I was enjoying a bit of the adrenaline hit that can accompany these types of shows.
However, what's strange is that generally I felt a bit better and had a more positive outlook about the everyday stressors that you and I face on a daily basis--long term. I've come to the non-scientific conclusion that it made me grateful for our everyday world. Perhaps part of it was realizing that whenever I walked outside, the chance that I would be confronted by a hungry zombie mob was generally a small one. Maybe just putting things into perspective and realizing that, personal heartbreaks and tragedies aside, everyday life on earth for most of us in America is pretty good and we have so, so much for which to be grateful.
One writer for Vice, Abby Moss, penned her thoughts about how watching horror movies helped her with her anxiety. Check it out here.
As aforementioned, this is clearly not a scientific study just a personal experience. For those who have experienced deep trauma or need therapy, please...please seek out the help of a trusted medical professional.