Scary movies don’t have to be reserved for quality time with your loved ones just on Halloween. According to research, firing up a horror flick on the reg might actually spook your stress away. Seriously.
While the experience might occasionally send you to hide under a blanket, having a good scare has been shown to offer some great health benefits. One researcher even said those who endure a fun, scary experience tend to feel happier and less anxious overall.
“The research my colleagues and I have done show a high-arousal negative stimuli improves mood significantly. The different neurotransmitters and hormones released during the experience could explain that.” —Margee Kerr, sociologist
“The research my colleagues and I have done show a high-arousal negative stimuli improves mood significantly,” Margee Kerr, sociologist and fear expert, told Time regarding the mood-boosting effects of feeling afraid. “The different neurotransmitters and hormones released during the experience could explain that.”
Since stress isn’t so kind to the body, spooking it right out of your system through something as simple as a creepy flick is a easy way to help prevent the long-term havoc from invading your system, like anxiety, depression, fatigue—you name it. But there is a potential downside to bingeing terror films.
If you absolutely hate being scared and are thinking about forcing yourself to watch something frightening just to reap the benefits, it probably won’t work: According to Kerr, the whole stress-busting thing is only effective for people who like being spooked—a similar reason why it’s important to enjoy HIIT workouts for them to be effective in your routine.
So, don’t force your BFF to join in during your next movie night if she’s not about that #horrorflicklife, or she may feel even more stressed after watching.