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What Is Scream Therapy? Read About How Horror Movies Can Benefit Your Mental Health!

Being a horror movie fan is a thing in itself. The mounting suspense, the jump scares, sudden loud noises and unexpected images can leave you petrified in the most fun way possible. Apart from all the fun and fear, watching a horror movie can also benefit your mental health - yes, I said benefit.

Intrigued? Scream therapy, also called primal scream therapy involves standing in a warrior pose and screaming at the top of your lungs [1]. And horror movies are the best way to do this [2].

Watching a horror movie can help relieve stress and anxiety, says some studies [3]. Let's take a look at how watching a horror movie can help with your mental health.

What Is Scream Therapy?

Scream therapy is nothing but you just screaming at the top of your voice, to let the frustration out - and if done in front of a mirror, better [4]. According to experts, scream therapy gives the individual a way to release anger and frustration or take the edge off of building feelings of anxiety [5].

So, how does scream therapy work?

By connecting the negative emotion (of anxiety) by feeling, and by releasing it through screaming, the physical vibratory sensations (caused by the screaming) alert the individual's nervous system and subconscious - basically telling the mind that the discharge (scream) is a conscious choice made by the individual [6].

Scream Therapy And Horror Movies: The Perfect Combo For Your Mental Health

Scream therapy or shouting to let your frustration out is not a trend of the contemporary world but has been a part of Ancient Chinese treatment approaches [7]. As a part of traditional medicine, Chinese people have passed on the practice from generation to generation. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) focuses on the energy and rhythms of the human body and its organs and says that screaming is a good exercise for the liver and lungs [8].

If you have ever shouted or screamed at someone out of frustration, you know what I'm talking about. While it might feel great to you, keep in mind that your scream could have negative effects on the people who hear it. Moreover, studies have pointed out that the rough sounds of human screams activate fear responses deep in the minds of people who are listening [9]. So, it is better and safer (for others) that you do the scream therapy at your home or any safe place.

Moreover, studies show that shouting or screaming might trigger the production of endorphins, causing one to feel better, something similar to a runner's high [10].

So, where does horror movies come into the picture here, you may wonder!

As experts point out, when you engage with things that scare you (horror movies), the contained adrenaline can be good for some viewer's frame of mind. When you allow yourself to be triggered in a safe and secure environment, that can work as a form of therapy - helping ease the symptoms of minor mental health issues such as anxiety [11].

It was a study that opened up the conversation regarding horror movies and mental health, where researchers found that regular horror movie connoisseurs actively responded to the movies and their scare tactics, which in turn helped manage their anxiety levels [12].

While it may seem counterintuitive for some, experts explain the link between horror movies and mental health through the surrogacy theory - which states that fear allows one to control fear. That is, watching a horror movie can help you control your fear and anxiety, as you are ensured that you are in a safe place and is in a way linked to exposure therapy (where an individual is exposed to stressors in a controlled environment to reduce their impact over time [13].

Therefore, the use of horror movies as a form of a contained trigger may help release angst, fear, and anxious thoughts - owing to it the sheer ability of horror movies to impact you both mentally and physically.

Note: Experts don't recommend unsupervised scream therapy. You'll need an experienced psychologist to guide you through the process.

On A Final Note...

We are not asking you or guiding you to scream at someone to let out your frustration and help improve your mental health, but to try it by yourselves to see if it is helping you feel better.

If someone is afraid of watching horror movies, and if they have any mental health disorders, never force them, unless they volunteer to watch it.

Mental Health Helpline Numbers

1. COOJ Mental Health Foundation (COOJ)- Helpline: 0832-2252525 | 01:00 PM - 07:00 PM (Monday to Friday)
2. Parivarthan- Helpline: +91 7676 602 602 | 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Monday to Friday)
3. Connecting Trust- Helpline: +91 992 200 1122 | +91-992 200 4305 | 12:00 PM to 08:00 PM (All days of the week)
4. Roshni Trust- Helpline: 040-66202000, 040-66202001 | 11:00 AM - 09:00 PM (Monday to Sunday)
5. Sahai Helpline: 080-25497777 / Email at - SAHAIHELPLINE@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM- 8 PM (Monday to Saturday)
6. Sumaitri: 011-23389090 / FEELINGSUICIDAL@SUMAITRI.NET |2 PM- 10 PM (Monday To Friday); 10 AM - 10 PM (Saturday and Sunday)
7. Sneha: 044-24640050 (24 HOURS) / 044-24640060 | Email at- HELP@SNEHAINDIA.ORG |8 AM - 10 PM
8. Lifeline: 033-24637401 / 033-24637432 | Email at LIFELINEKOLKATA@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM - 6 PM.

---Help is out there---