Anxiety, Horror Movies & Relief

Obviously, when we are struggling with our anxiety we want to seek relief right? When we are stuck in ruminating patterns- we are desperate to end that pattern and find relief. Relief would mean to stop and end these feeling and these thoughts right?

What if that is not always the answer when we are struggling with anxiety?

What if, in some instances, our anxious thoughts and feelings needed to be redirected?

This is explored a bit further in Episode 104 of The Shek Check: "Anxiety, Horror Movies & Relief".  I became curious as to why I found relief from my anxiety when I watched horror movies.

Weird right?

Well not as weird when I looked at what happens when I met my anxiety with anxiety- Check it out.

Transcript: Introduction " Anxiety, Horror Movies, & Relief"

[00:00:00] What is up? I am Erez Shek and you are checking in with The Shek Check- the podcast dropping gems of awareness that hopefully let you take it inward to work that self awareness muscle of yours. Promoting that self check fact check to better understand how you think feel and behave in this crazy little world

[00:00:25] that we live in. And today let's talk about Anxiety, Horror, Movies. and Relief. You heard me. Let's get shekked, let's get shekked, let's get shekked, let's get shekked, let's get shekked.

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Transcript: Main " Anxiety, Horror Movies, & Relief"

[00:00:40] So I read somewhere that a lot of people who struggle with disordered anxiety, like myself, have a tendency to watch TV

[00:00:50] shows or movies that they have already watched before, because the familiarity soothes them. That knowing, you know, what happens next in the TV show or movie doesn't excite them right? Doesn't get them revved up, but rather grounds them. And I can definitely relate to this, you know, like a lot, there is something about knowing the certainty of something- when your thoughts are trying to find solutions to the uncertainty all around you.

[00:01:14] So

[00:01:15] of course, you know, something that you are familiar with that provides you that certainty- a familiar story with familiar characters will bring on thoughts and feelings of safety.

[00:01:25] You know, I actually remember that as a kid, I had a lot of issues with insomnia, which is actually an understatement. Um, I'm, I'm not really entirely sure how much sleep I got growing up because there was just an overwhelming amount of

[00:01:40] sleepless nights filled with fear and anxiety. The truth is I had trouble with intrusive thoughts and rumination, and eventually I convinced my parents to let me sleep by the TV and eventually got a TV in my bedroom because having the TV on gave my mind a chance to quiet down. Like not so much quiet down actually, as much as it shifted the focus away from

[00:02:05] my intrusive thoughts and ruminations and onto the noise and the voices and the stories of the characters on the TV shows that I fell asleep to. Obviously it wasn't a hundred percent effective, but a lot better than just what my thoughts were kind of coming up with in regards and in relation to myself, which can be very scary... especially as a child.

[00:02:27] Obviously a lot of sleep hygiene

[00:02:30] information tells us that it is not the healthiest thing to do to, uh, fall asleep with the TV on at night, or, you know, as you sleep, not the point, uh, in this conversation, but definitely an important thing to consider. And eI will make sure to put some great sleep hygiene resources to check out on the blog post for this episode on the Shek Check dot Com, because it is something that I now, as an adult find helpful

[00:02:55] as a kid, I probably would've laughed in your face because nothing was gonna quiet, those thoughts and those ruminations and that intrusive nature that I had as a kid.

[00:03:04] Moving on.

[00:03:05] So a variation right on, on watching the TV shows or the movies, uh, of familiar. When you are struggling with anxious feelings and thoughts, right? It is great because again, you are, you know, watching something that you are already familiar with and it

[00:03:20] does bring you feelings of safety. Definitely see how that works and that definitely has its place for me when it works as a coping skill. Another coping skill is something I found for myself, as an adult, was watching horror movies and thriller movies. Actually, they help a lot with me and my anxiety and this shocks most people because how can something that engages with fear be helpful or calming, right? Like horror

[00:03:45] movies and and thriller movies and suspense movies- they kind of live for you to be on the edge of your seat and they live and they kind of exist in that fearful place. How can something that engages with fear and anxiety be helpful or calming? And to be clear, I don't think that they are calming. I don't think those movies, horror movies and thriller movies and suspense movies are calming, but I also don't think that

[00:04:10] helping my anxious feelings and my anxious thoughts need to be soothed with calmness.

[00:04:15] Feelings of anxiety don't necessarily need us to simmer down or to sit in silence or to be calmed or to calm ourselves. Hear me out on this one. I think sometimes when we are feeling anxiety and having anxious thoughts, calming ourselves might not always be an answer or a solution or an appropriate coping

[00:04:35] skill that suits that situation. Sometimes that anxious feeling and anxious thought- they just need to be redirected. A detour perhaps, you know, not necessarily a slowing down but something that takes that energy and, and kind of moves it into a different direction or a new direction, a, a less inner direction.

[00:04:54] Again, for me, horror movies have provided that. You know, this is not like all the time. This is not what will always work

[00:05:00] for my anxiety in every anxious moment, in every kind of anxiety thought storm or anxious feeling storm. You know, like, it's a read the room type thing. Like your internal room.

[00:05:11] When I watch horror, thriller or suspense movies- it help my anxiety on a few levels

Rumination Defined

[00:05:16] So, number one, if I am in a rumination pattern or like, you know, anxiety hold- then I am most likely trying to solve

[00:05:25] something from my past or solve a bunch of predicted problems in the future. Or I am fixated on a current problem and trying to find safety and certainty within all that.. But all of that is based in puzzles and mysteries and things to solve and trying to do that doesn't really do much for me except stress my system. Because trying to solve potential problems and old problems and fixations- the

[00:05:50] rumination- that doesn't do great things for your nervous system. Even though your nervous system is literally driving it.. So being aware of that and trying to be aware of how I'm feeding the anxious feelings and anxious energy. Where can I kind of move that too? What can I do that is productive?

[00:06:09] And for me being aware of that, knowing that a horror movie or a suspense movie

[00:06:15] is going to take that for me. Like those characters in those movies- they got shit that they're solving too. Let me be a part of that. Let me get invested in, in their puzzles and their mysteries. Let me shift that energy into their shit. Let that anxiety exist, but shift its attention to something outside of myself. Outside of my puzzles, mysteries and uncertainties. Let my energy exist for

[00:06:40] their puzzles, their mysteries and their uncertainties. Like my intrusive thoughts and ruminations don't need to be engaged with. So where can I put that energy instead?

[00:06:51] Another aspect of those movies is that I see those characters dealing with their own anxiety and, you know, as they fight for their lives or their friends' lives or, you know, running from men with chainsaws or women cooking bunnies

[00:07:05] or a dude eating fava beans in someone's liver or whatever. They are all on the edge of their seats. They're all in a state of fear and a state of anxiety. And as much as that sucks for them, like it actually taps into my own feelings of compassion for them. Like I don't get joy from their struggles, their fears and their anxieties. Like that would be screwed up. That would be massively, like, just screwed up if I

[00:07:30] did.

[00:07:30] But the detour here for me is that I can meet their struggles with softness. I can see that I'm meeting their struggles with softness and and care. And that detour is helpful for me because I'm, in some form, reminding that I can meet myself without same softness. That I could be like, yo, this anxiety, these anxious thoughts and feelings. I that's something like, you know, be gentle with yourself as you're, as you're struggling with that. If I can meet their

[00:07:55] shit with my care and empathy and compassion. Then I can also provide that to myself. And that is a helpful reminder, right? Sometimes that reminder is important because when we're struggling- it is very forgettable.

[00:08:07] So yes, surprising that that horror movies can help with anxiety. Again, it's for me. I think there's a lot of stuff out there that speaks to an overview of people. But we are still individuals and discovering what has worked

[00:08:20] for us, uh, is a discovery for each of us and what has worked for us, what is working for us and maybe hopefully finding other things that can work for us and that's important. And sometimes that is away from the typical worn out path and the typical self-help books out there. And sometimes it's not because there's a lot of great things out there. You just have to pull and pick what works for you and also be willing to discover new

[00:08:45] things.

Ready to find out more?

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Transcript: Conclusion " Anxiety, Horror Movies, & Relief"

[00:08:45] Something to think about just another perspective that hopefully sparks some exploration for you. Just another way to check yourself so that you wreck yourself even just a little bitty, bitty, little, teeny, less or more-able, less, or more, more, I don't really know what I'm saying anymore. Just a reminder that you can check out the blog post and the transcript for this episode, as well as resources on sleep hygiene- for this episode on The Shek Check dot

[00:09:10] com. Link for that post is in this episode show description. So check that out. And if you have not already hit the subscribe or follow button from wherever you're listening to us from. What are you waiting for? It's free. It's fun. It's thought provoking. It's The Shek Check. I don't know why I said it like that, but you should just do it. Just, just do it. Hit that subscribe or follow button. Because again, the more that we check ourselves, the less we wreck ourselves and we need that

[00:09:35] y'all we need that for ourselves. And when we do that for ourselves, we are doing it for others. So hit it. Don't quit it. Also make sure to follow The Shek Check on social media- Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Those links are in this episode show description as well. Utilize it. Everywhere you get social on internet, join me there please. And until next time, keep taking care of yourself because when you are taking care of you, you are also taking care of those around you. And we

[00:10:00] really like that.

[00:10:00] Until next time, Shek, Check out, Shek Check out, Shek Check out.