You may be the courageous one who watches a horror movie as if it's a comedy or the softhearted one who covers your eyes when a ghost pops on the TV screen. Either way, you are experiencing ‘Exposure Therapy’!
Exposure therapy confronts one's fear of an object or situation. Through this therapy, psychologists help people break their pattern of avoiding a problem or fearing it. Psychologists create a safe environment for the person with fear to be exposed to and overcome it gradually.
Watching a horror movie can be a nerve-chilling experience for many. Yet, this edge-of-the-seat-inducing moment lets one encounter a person's negative emotions in a safe and controlled space. Thus, although the watcher would be in a state of fear developed by their amygdala (the part of the brain that processes emotions), it helps to prepare them to protect themselves from the source of fear and help them to overcome it. Overcoming the fear in a safe environment prepares that person to overcome the same in real-life situations.
Further, watching a horror movie makes a person mindful of their environment. The watcher becomes aware that the situation is occurring only on screen, and in real life, they are safe. This mindfulness also provides a new perspective on looking at their current situation, bringing new solutions, and being an aid to stress or anxiety. Likewise, it has been found that horror movie fans experience lower distress than others as their engagement with fear in their safe space has boosted their coping mechanism.
Although there are many psychological advantages to watching horror movies, jumpingMinds wishes to remind you that not everyone feels relaxed after watching a horror movie as it depends on a person's life experience, background, and reactions to environmental stimuli. So, choose to enjoy a spooky movie after making sure your buddy is ok with it! 👻 💖