How Horror Films Can Actually Help Your Anxiety

scary movies anxiety
credit: SYFY

Apparently, there are a whole group of people who find that watching horror movies is actually soothing their anxiety. Sound strange? Let an expert explain.

Broadly spoke with Dr. Mathias Clasen of Aarhus University in Denmark and he explained the reason behind the phenomenon. He said,

“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.”

He added,

“Exposure to horror films can be gratifying when the negative emotions caused by the film are manageable.”

horror films anxiety
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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.

And she wasn’t the only one. A writer for Luna Luna experienced the same effects and wrote:

“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 topics 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 film is easing the suffering of so many anxiety-ridden.

So are horror movies going to cure your anxiety? Probably not. But hey, it’s a good distraction.

Feature photo courtesy of SYFY


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the founder and editor of Femestella and The Feminist Health Source. She started Femestella in 2016 and soon realized the need for reliable and judgmental-free health articles. In 2022, she launched The Feminist Health Source as a sister site that hopes to help people of all genders, sexualities, body types, abilities, and more get the health information they need. When she's not busy working on Femestella and The Feminist Health Source, you can usually find her binge-watching the latest Netflix series and snuggling with her Tuxedo cat.