Yes, you read that headline correctly. There is a whole group of people who are finding that watching horror films is actually soothing to their anxiety. Sound strange? Let an expert explain.
Broadly recently spoke with Dr. Mathias Clasen of Aarhus University in Denmark about the effects of horror films on anxiety and the psychologist wasn’t shocked in the least. He explained,
“I’m not surprised to learn that some anxious individuals find horror films therapeutic. The genre allows us to voluntarily—and under controlled circumstances—get experience with negative emotion.”
The article was inspired by the author’s own experiences with horror films and anxiety, in which she found that the movie genre helped soothe her when things got rough.
“I want movies that will give me the same feeling of dread that I experience when faced with making basic life choices.”
There are even message boards devoted to the same thing with users wondering if anyone else shares their feelings.
Obviously scary movies have all kinds of effects on people, and there is a ton of stories to the contrary, but it can’t be a coincidence that this genre of films is easing the suffering of so many anxiety ridden.
“Exposure to horror films can be gratifying when the negative emotions caused by the film are manageable,” Dr. Clasen added.
So are horror movies going to cure your anxiety? Probably not. But hey, it’s a good distraction, right?