Are you a die-hard fan of horror and love all things dark and creepy? Well, science says not only is watching horror movies good for you, but it also improves your health.
With the return of Michael Myers slashing all the Box Office records, and the Netflix show ‘Haunting of Hill House’ creeping us all to the core, 2018 was no doubt a great year for horror. Not to forget, ‘The Nun’, ‘A Quiet Place’, ‘Hereditary’, ‘Slenderman’, and tonnes of other great horror movies came out this year to the fans’ delight. Are you someone who watches horror movies and shows, passionately? Do regular chick-flicks bore the crap out of you? Well, we have some good news for you! Not that you need any more reasons to watch your favorite slasher and jump scare movies, but according to science, people who watch horror movies regularly are healthier and smarter than the ones who don’t. “How?” Below are seven reasons, backed by science.
1. It exercises your brain
Anyone can watch and enjoy a typical romantic movie but it takes brains to watch and decode a twisted tale of horror. The elements which are involved in a horror movie act as a stimulus for your brain and it evokes activity in your brain, making you think. Researchers have found that watching horror movies releases neurotransmitters which not only increases brain activity but it also expands our ability to think.
2. It helps you deal with Anxiety
The problem of anxiety is now one of the most commonly faced issues in the world and while a medical diagnosis and medication is necessary, experts have found that watching horror movies help people deal with their anxiety issues. According to Dr. Mathias Clasen, from Aarhus University, “Watching a horror film is a voluntary act and under controlled circumstances which will make someone feel safe compared to real-world dangers. Just like when going on a rollercoaster, those with anxiety feel better watching horror films with someone else knowing they are getting through the same thing together. Horror films are not to be treated like a cure for anxiety but they can be a helpful tool for managing it.”
3. It burns the same amount of calories as a 30 min walk
“WHAT?” Yes. Watching a horror movie is equivalent to a 30-minute walk and it burns the same amount of calories. Watching a horror movie can burn up to a whopping 200 calories! According to Dr. Richard Mackenzie, senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology at the University of Westminster, “As the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline. It is this release of fast acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress (or in this case, brought on by fear), which is known to lower the appetite, increase the Basal Metabolic Rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories.” Heavy gym-ing? Nah I guess I’d rather binge watch some of my favorite horror movies!
4. It helps you strengthen your immune system
In addition to all the other benefits, watching horror movies also boosts your immune system and prepares your body for difficult situations. When we watch a horror movie, it pumps adrenaline inside our bodies which causes a rush and activates our immune system. A study which was conducted recently showed that the people who watched horror movies frequently had increased white blood cells.
5. It is good for your relationship
Heard of the good old Netflix and chill? Well, it actually works, if you two are watching a horror movie, of course. When you watch something creepy, your brain releases happy chemicals – dopamine and serotonin, the same substances which are released in your body when you fall in love! Facing troubles in your relationship? Watch a scary movie together and hold your boo tight!
6. It helps you deal with stress
“But, how?” Researchers believe a good scare improves your mood and helps you feel better. According to a study which was conducted in 2012, “The different neurotransmitters and hormones released during the experience could explain that. Or, by voluntarily choosing to endure a scary or stressful activity — whether it’s watching a freaky movie or bungee jumping — you’re likely to experience a feel-good sense of accomplishment afterward.”
7. It boosts your ability to deal with extreme situations
Your DNA loves watching horror movies, apparently. When you watch a horror movie you provide your brain with various visual stimuli of difficult situations, urging your brain to find ways to cope with such scenarios. As you watch more and more horror movies, your brain learns new abilities to deal with extreme situations and prepares you for the same.
So get comfy, sit back, and let some good ol’ fashioned scary stuff work its magic on your brain- and your health!