If you’ve seen a horror movie and now you’re scared and anxious, don’t despair! When you watch a fun show or listen to upbeat music after the movie, you won’t be scared anymore. With a little reassurance and comfort, you can easily distance yourself from your feelings of anxiety and be at peace.
Don’t watch the movie when it’s dark, watch it when you start your day. By the time you go to bed, you’ve had a full day of activities that have distracted you. Then the film won’t scare you as much. A horror movie scares you more if you watch it when it’s dark outside. That doesn’t mean you have to skip the popcorn!
Horror movies are often worse alone and you don’t have as many distractions. Therefore, watch horror movies with at least one other person. The more the better! You’ll be less scared when the movie is over.
Discuss the plot, setting, and characters with friends or family when you watch the film with others. If you’re watching the movie alone, say comments like, “That’s stupid.” during the movie. This will calm you (and others) and release tension from the plot. Commenting on the film will make you less stressed and more relaxed. You can say things like, “Did you see how slow she ran?” in a sarcastic tone. or “Nice hairdo.”
When the music gets intense and you know something scary is going to happen, laugh or say something funny. Do that even if you don’t find that part of the movie funny. Laughter takes the tension out and scary moments don’t feel as traumatic. It also lightens the mood. If you watch the film with others, they will also become more relaxed.
When you see how the film was made, it often seems less realistic and scary. There are behind-the-scenes features on most DVDs and you can check out director specials on the Internet. The special features usually describe the storyline and character details in great detail, making them seem less realistic. You can also read the movie ratings to better understand the movie.
Keep telling yourself, “This isn’t real.” and “I’m safe.” until you believe it You’ll have to say it a few times and trust yourself, but telling yourself the movie is fictional will help calm you down. You can recall parts of the film that are particularly cheesy or unrealistic to convince yourself. Lock your doors if that puts your mind at ease. Even horror movies that are “based on a true story” are exaggerated and intensified to make them more compelling. Maybe the villain has bad makeup so you see his true identity all the time. Maybe the characters in the film would be unrealistic in real life, like a swamp monster or a zombie. These details will help convince you that the film is fictional.
After watching a horror movie, you are in a “fight or flight” state. Exercise can reduce your stress. Do things like dance, jog in place, or do jumping jacks. You can also have a pillow fight. After blowing off a little steam, you’ll feel less tense and anxious. Don’t exercise too much before you go to bed. Falling asleep becomes harder when you’re stimulated.
You can stop being anxious simply by distracting yourself. Immediately turn on another movie or TV show and make sure it’s about a light-hearted topic with a positive tone. This way you can focus on the good and not be worried and anxious. For example, choose a comedy or an inspirational documentary. You can also read a book, leaf through a magazine, or draw. Focus on positive upcoming events to distract yourself. Maybe you have an exciting date or concert to look forward to.
If you saw the film with others, keep spending time together. If you watched the film alone and are now afraid, contact a friend or relative. Invite him over to you, for example. When you’re alone, you’re likely to have more anxiety and grief. When other people are around, it calms you down. You can cook something, talk about your day, or play a game, for example.
Plug a night light into a nearby outlet and turn it on before you go to sleep. This way you can see in the dark and know no ghosts or the boogeyman will get you. Use it only after the movie so you don’t always depend on the night light when you go to bed. For example, you can use a decorative night light that is shaped like a moon or star. You can also use a simple night light.
Background music can lull you to sleep even if you’re scared after watching a horror movie. Turn on nature sounds like waves on the beach or birds in the forest before you go to sleep. Then drift peacefully to sleep. Also, listen to instrumental sleep music, like Brahms’ lullaby. You can hear it through headphones or a sound system.
If you can fall asleep but wake up later, tell yourself that you were just having a nightmare and it’s not real. Then keep telling yourself that your anxiety is only from the movie. Do this until you believe yourself and fall asleep again. Take a few deep breaths while telling yourself this over and over. This will help you relax so you can go back to bed.
If you can’t fall asleep no matter how hard you try, then you may feel better if someone sleeps with you. Ask a friend, relative, or roommate if you can sleep with them or if they can sleep with you. This will help you fall asleep knowing you are not alone and safe. Do this if you are really scared and nothing helps. Bring extra pillows, blankets, snacks, and things to do to make it a slumber party. So you have fun and forget your fear.
If you don’t want to watch a horror movie, don’t! Watch horror movies only if you want to. Imagine someone you look up to or a superhero beating up the villain. It makes you feel better, or at least you can laugh. Watch a show that explains how to make horror costumes and special effects. That way you understand the genesis and are not so afraid. Be logical. Tell yourself that zombies/vampires/ghosts that didn’t exist before you watched the movie don’t exist afterward. Even if they did, what are the odds that they are right in your city? Use the rating to determine how scary or spooky the movie is (for example, if you’re 12, you shouldn’t watch a movie rated 18).