Some doctors are saying that horror movies can be good for your mental health.

Well and Good recently reported on Lady Gaga’s self-care habit, which as it turns out is unwinding with a good horror flick. Gaga had originally told an interviewer with Vogue of her relaxation habits during a video where she quickly answered 73 questions about herself. The reporter with Well and Good reached out to various mental health professionals to find out just how such a habit stacks up for those frequently seeking comfort off what others may deem horrifying. The responses were positive towards what doctors say may be a healthy dose self-care and decompressing for some.

A member of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, Doctor Nancy Irwin, PsyD, says that there are numerous reasons why scary movies are comforting to so many viewers. Apparently, being able to see something “bad” play out before one’s eyes can be a form of reassurance that “we are not alone,” claims Irwin. Watching horror movies triggers the flight or fight response, which Irwin believes may be satisfying to some subconscious degree. She says this may be especially true for those who have been through past traumatic experiences. Although, she did acknowledge that this is different for everyone and that some may actually be bothered by scary films due to their past traumas.

“Otherwise, we feel others’ lives are perfect and bad stuff only happens to us. Deep down, we may feel we are ‘exercising’ this muscle to prepare for if and when the bad stuff does happen to us.”

Dr. Nancy Irwin also stated that the reasons behind this level of comfort could simply boil down to a person’s genetic makeup. She calls this the “thrill seeker gene,” claiming that this gene predisposes those who have it to thrive on adrenaline.

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Another doctor, Michael Breus, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who also weighed in on the topic. He too brings genetics up, saying that another gene may very well come into play for those with a taste for all things scary. This, he calls “Sensation Seeking,” stating that people with this genetics enjoy and get a form of relaxation by watching horror movies.

These doctors did not attribute any particular reasons toward Lady Gaga’s horror movie habit but merely weighed in on the possibilities for the general public, giving readers something to mull over if they enjoy puzzling about how their own brain ticks. Dr. Irwin also noted that a person’s preference can change over time.

“Horror movies are not in and of themselves ‘bad.’ They serve a purpose for some people and should be avoided by others, and everything in between.”





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