What if viewing a certain type of entertainment could enhance our health? Or at least, what if it should be taken seriously as a wellness strategy? Start popping the popcorn as you discover below how watching horror movies may benefit us both physically and mentally.
3 Ways Scary Films Benefit Our Bodies
Whether we grew up watching horror movies with mom and dad or discovered scary films as adults, many of us enjoy the chills and thrills of flicks like The Shining and The Blair Witch Project. And if you're one of those who do, we have great news because now you can have an even better reason than "I like them" to indulge.
Consider these three scary movie benefits to physical health:
- Burn Calories: Belly up to the theater snack bar and order a bar of chocolate before your next horror movie without guilt. Researchers have found we burn about one candy bar’s worth of calories just by viewing a scary film.
- Fight Infection: When study participants watched a horror movie, their white blood cell counts soared. Researchers linked those immune system benefits to our body’s instinctive response to fearful events.
- Energize with Adrenaline: When we view a scary film, our bodies react as if we were actually in a terrifying situation. On a physical level, that reaction means we get a rush of adrenaline. The result: an uplifting energizer.
3 Ways Horror Movies Boost Mental Health
In addition to the physical benefits, watching horror movies may also be good for mental health.
Here are three ways that viewing scary films may help our minds:
- Feel Prepared: By watching scary events unfold in horror movies, experts say we might prepare ourselves for real-life dangers. Feeling prepared may alleviate worries about the unknown future, actually easing anxiety.
- Get Happy: Bring on the endorphins. Sociologists found that surviving frightening experiences like scary movies might make us happier. These experts link the psychological boost to the hormones our bodies release during such activities.
- Experience Success: Before we view a horror film, we may anticipate what we’ll have to endure Eeks! Shrieks! and Chills!. But when we finish watching, we subsequently might find that we feel a sense of accomplishment. We did, after all, survive.
Our doctors probably won’t write “view one horror movie a week” on a prescription pad anytime soon. But from boosting our burned calories to helping us feel successful, watching scary films may benefit our bodies and minds in ways we'd never considered. So maybe the horror enthusiasts are onto something and it's time for us scaredy cats to get on board.
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