How To Create Stress: Watch scary flicks

I just read an article listing movies that create anxiety. The first movie on the list was, aptly named, “High Anxiety”. No problem for me as  I decided long ago to skip the scary flicks entirely. After all, I reasoned, “Why pay to be scared?”

The human body is a highly hypnotizable machine. They call it “the willing suspension of disbelief” during which you totally forget that you’re sitting in a movie theatre and your body responds as if you’re actually in the terrifying situation.

I remember the strong urge to throw up as I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. I also remember nearly jumping into the stranger’s lap beside me during a particular scene of “Wait Until Dark”. Since I was in my early 20’s at the time, there wasn’t much chance of an actual heart attack, but my heart did feel like it absolutely froze for several seconds. And I don’t think I’ll ever live long enough to overcome the posttraumatic stress after watching “Psycho”.

Movies are meant to play with the emotions. After the film, Avatar, some people who were interviewed leaving the theatre expressed sadness at having to return to the “real” world.

There are always those thrillseekers among us who seek out this very type of movie. But, if you don’t fall into that category, know that during a scary flick you’re taking your body on a cortisol ride. If you have any serious chronic ailment that is exacerbated by stress, do your body a favor by finding a less jolting flick for your cinematherapy.


About trowerteresa

I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Stress Coach in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida. I help clients lower their stress levels and enjoy better health. Check out my course "Reverse Your Pre-Diabetes and Finally Lose the Weight" on

Posted on February 2, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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