It’s normal to feel freaked out after watching a scary movie, even if you loved it at the moment. But if those chilling scenes stick with you and cause prolonged fear or sleep troubles, it’s time to take action to recover. The good news is there are effective ways to stop being scared after watching scary movies. With self-care habits and coping strategies, you can shake off that lingering fear from those creepy characters that stay with you long after the credits roll. This guide will help you say goodbye to the scary movie scaries for good.
Do a Post-Movie Recovery Ritual
When you’re feeling shaky after watching a horror or thriller movie, a recovery ritual can help ground you and transition your mindset. Here are some relaxing ideas to choose from:
Take a Warm Shower or Bath
Let warm water wash away any tense or panicked feelings still clinging on from those freaky scenes. Add some Epsam salts or scented shower gel to soothe your senses. The comfort and solitude of a shower or bath signals to your brain that the scary stuff was just a movie, and you’re safe now.
Cuddle a Pet or Loved One
Nothing chases away the heebie-jeebies like hugs! Cuddle up with your cat, dog, partner, kids, roommate – whoever is available for quality snuggling time. Feeling that physical contact and comfort will reassure and calm your nerves.
Enjoy Comfort Food and Tea
Make yourself a nourishing snack or meal to reground yourself in the here and now. Opt for comfort foods like soup, mac and cheese, or a grilled cheese sandwich. Pair it with a hot cup of herbal tea to sip. The ritual of preparing food, the tasty flavors, the warmth – it all helps shift your mood from freaked out to cozy.
Listen to Soothing Music
Put on some tranquil tunes with a steady, mellow vibe like soft piano, light jazz, or gentle acoustic guitar. Avoid anything too lively or intense. Let the music wash over you, helping to relax any lingering tension. Make a whole self-care playlist to chill out to.
Take Some Deep Breaths
When anxiety or fear kicks in, deep breathing instantly helps counteract it. Inhale deeply through your nose, drawing the breath down into your belly. Exhale slowly out through your mouth. Repeat for two to three minutes. This will relax your body and instantly get you feeling more centered and serene.
Light Candles or Incense
The warm, flickering glow of candles creates an instant sense of comfort. You can arrange them around your living room, bedroom, or bathroom. Light some incense too for a soothing scent. Let the hypnotic candles banish any remaining spooky vibes.
Change into Cozy Clothes
Get out of your day clothes and into the coziest, most comforting clothes you own. We’re talking fleece PJ pants, your vintage band tee, the extra baggy hoodie, and those fuzzy slipper socks. Like a warm hug, comfy clothes provide soothing sensory input to make you feel protected.
Get Moving with Exercise
Shake off the scary sensations with some physical activity. Try yoga, pilates, or going for a brisk walk or jog. Getting your body moving releases feel-good endorphins that blast away stressed or anxious feelings. Expanding that nervous energy helps settle your mind.
Phone a Friend
Hearing a comforting, familiar voice is an instant balm after a spooky movie. Call up a close friend or relative just to chat or vent about how creeped out you felt. They can talk you through it with empathy, reassurance, and humor. You’ll feel better getting it off your chest.
Apply Relaxation Techniques
Once you’ve completed your post-scary movie ritual, employ some relaxation techniques to continue counteracting any lingering fear or anxiety.
Try Square Breathing
This calming breathing technique entails inhaling for 4 counts, holding for 4 counts, exhaling for 4 counts, and holding again for 4 counts. The longer exhale triggers relaxation. Repeat for a few minutes until you feel more tranquil.
Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Tense and relax each muscle group one at a time. Start with your feet and work up to your head. Tense muscles for 5-10 seconds, then release for 30 seconds. This melts away tension.
Visualize Your Happy Place
Picture somewhere that feels beautiful, peaceful, and safe – a memory of a vacation, your childhood home, or a day at the beach. Imagine the sights, sounds, smells. Making your mind focus on something pleasant alleviates fear.
Get Lost in an Immersive Activity
Choose something creative and absorbing to get lost in, like coloring, knitting, playing an instrument, woodworking, or painting. An immersive activity directs your attention away from any lingering worries.
Try Guided Meditations
Use an app, YouTube video, or audio download to practice some short guided meditations before bed. These gently talk you through focusing on the present moment. The calming words and imagery relax both mind and body.
Do Some Gentle Stretches
Stand up and do a few minutes of easy, gentle stretches. Reach both arms overhead, bend to each side, rotate your torso – and move your body mindfully. Stretching releases physical tension and quiets worried thoughts.
Splash Cold Water on Your Face
For an instant refreshing jolt, splash your face with cold water. You can also place a cool washcloth on your eyes the back or your neck. The cold temperature signals safety and brings you into the present moment.
Cuddle in Bed with a Book
Make your bed extra cozy with lots of pillows and blankets to pile under. Get comfy and read a wholesome book that takes your mind somewhere peaceful. Let the story take you away until you become pleasantly sleepy.
Queue Up Comfort Entertainment
Have some lighter, upbeat entertainment choices queued up to watch after viewing a more frightening film. The contrast in tone and subject matter helps distance your mind from what you just saw onscreen.
Go for Comedy
Watch a funny comedy special, sitcom rerun, or hilarious YouTube clips. Laughter instantly boosts mood and eases tension. Let the jokes override any lingering sense of dread.
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Pick a Family Film
Queuing up a feel-good animated or family movie provides wholesome entertainment the entire opposite of a freaky horror film. The upbeat tone will make you feel lighter.
Put on a Concert Film
Watching your favorite band or musician perform live infuses you with energy and joy. Concert films let you rock out without any of the scary stuff.
Go for Inspiring Documentaries
Inspirational docs about human resilience, travel adventures, or the wonders of nature provide uplifting food for thought, reminding you of the good in the world.
Rewatch a Beloved Movie
Settle in with a comforting, familiar movie you’ve already seen dozens of times. Revisiting something nostalgic and cheerful restores your sense of safety.
Avoid Scary Media at Bedtime
Try your best not to watch or read anything frightening too close to going to sleep. Scary images and thoughts can imprint on your brain and ramp up anxiety as you’re trying to drift off. Give yourself an hour’s buffer before bedtime.
Stop Scrolling Social Media
Put away your phone at least an hour before bed so you don’t come across any freaky viral videos, creepy news, or disturbing memes right before sleep. these can mess with your head and keep you up.
Make Your Room Feel Secure
Check locks, close curtains, and declutter before bed so your room feels like a safe haven. Keep a nightlight on and cuddle a stuffed animal if it makes you feel better. Doing a quick scan of your space can prevent bedtime anxiety.
Save Scary Books for Daytime
If you want to read horror novels or creepy short stories, only indulge during daylight hours when you’re less vulnerable. Pack your bedside table with lighter reading material instead.
Avoid Spoilers at Bedtime
While it may be tempting to read up on explicatory posts about a scary movie’s mythology before bed, it can make images stick in your mind. Save Googling for the next day.
Talk Through Your Fears
Having an empathetic listener validate and talk through your fears takes their power away. Don’t keep scary thoughts bottled up.
Explain What Scared You
Telling someone the specific moments, visuals, or ideas that freaked you out releases them from your mind. Hearing yourself describe them out loud makes them feel more manageable.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
Admit you’re feeling irrationally afraid, even if it seems silly. Having someone understand the intensity of your feelings makes the fear less overwhelming. Friends and family can relate.
Ask for Reassurance
Let loved ones remind you the scary movie was make-believe and that real life is safer. Having someone confirm your real surroundings are secure makes doubts fade away.
Make Plans to Hang Out Again Soon
Schedule a future coffee date, game night, or Netflix binge with your confidant. Having future plans refocuses your mind on fun times ahead rather than spooky fantasies.
Remind Yourself What’s Real
When scary movie scenes or thoughts keep replaying in your mind, self-remind of what’s real to regain perspective.
That Was Just Acting
The creepy characters and shocking moments were performances by talented actors. No one was actually hurt or in danger. It was all a convincing illusion.
You’re in Your Safe Space
Look around and recognize that you are in your own secure, familiar home. No ghosts or ghouls are invading your reality. You control your real environment.
It’s Just a Story
However lifelike, it was a fictional tale written to frighten, not a real threat. With the TV off, you are back in the normal real world now.
You Are Safe
Say out loud “I am completely safe right now. Everything is OK.” Speak truths about your reality to drown out made-up fears. Your anxiety will diminish.
Scary Things Can’t Actually Hurt You
Monsters and killers live only on the screen. Their scary powers vanish in real life. The real danger comes from real people, not fantasies. Focus only on genuine risks.
You Are Stronger Than Any Movie
Remind yourself “I am stronger than any scary movie. I can handle these feelings.” Have confidence you have the coping skills to overcome imaginary frights. The real you is mightier.
When to Get Help
If watching scary movies seems to continually traumatize you or interfere with your ability to function or sleep within a few days, be open to getting professional help.
Seeing a counselor or therapist can help uncover why scary movies impact you so strongly, building coping skills. Getting to the roots of your fears takes their power away.
Talk to Your Doctor
For ongoing depression, anxiety, or sleep troubles after watching scary media, consult your doctor. They may recommend therapy, prescription medication, or natural supplements to help regulate your moods, thoughts, and sleep.
Lean on Your Support System
Don’t isolate yourself out of fear. Surround yourself with caring friends and relatives who can listen, distract, and comfort you when you feel yourself spiraling after a scary movie.
Limit Scary Media
If certain horror movies provoke prolonged stress reactions, be choosy about what you watch and when. Know your limits and don’t push past them. It’s OK to skip the spooky stuff.
Have Courage During the Daytime
When fear lingers into your daylight hours, muster up the courage to prove to yourself you’re OK in reality.
Open the Curtains
Let natural sunlight in to energize and uplift your space, chasing away any shadows or imagined spooks from the night before.
Sunshine, fresh air, and seeing people out living life reassures you all is well. Take a power walk around the neighborhood if anxiety creeps up.
Clean or Tidy Up
Stay busy with chores and tasks to take your mind off scary thoughts. A clean, organized environment contributes to inner calm and control.
Carry On as Usual
Don’t alter your regular routine out of fear. Shower, get dressed, eat your meals, run errands. Maintaining normalcy proves you can function just fine.
Scary movies can really do a number on our imaginations and emotions. But with some self-care, social support, and perspective, you can shake off those residual heebie-jeebies. Don’t let a fictional story have power over your real life for long. Bring your mind back to the peaceful present.