Movies: Control Your Life

Everyone loves to watch movies, and they can be a favorite past-time. Some people watch movies daily and others only seldom. Whether you are the former or the latter you can’t deny that movies affect your life, but how? Films are produced on every topic of life; classics, comedies, horror, and even romance. As a human you have an instinctual desire, for when you see other people you interpret what has made their life a successful one, and how you can interpret those same tactics into your own life, thus while watching movies, of which most have a happy ending, you see successful people and interpret how you could use their strategies to your own advantage.

“Because many films transmit ideas through emotion rather than intellect, they can neutralize the instinct to suppress feelings and trigger emotional release,” said Birgit Wolz, a psychologist focusing on movies as therapy, and author of “E-motion Picture Magic.” In simpler terms, movies not only transmit thought and emotion, but they reduce your ability to hold back those emotions. For example a sad movie transmits its sad emotion through the screen and take away your ability to hold back that emotion, making you cry with sympathy towards a character in a story. This means that if you choose the right movies you can actually control your emotions; so remember the next time you are trying to choose a movie, you can actually lower your stress, give yourself an adrenaline rush, or even administer a self esteem boost!

Comedies: Laughter can offer you distance from your problems and enhance your sense of well-being, Wolz said. In fact, numerous studies have shown that laughter can help your immune system and decrease stress hormones, which constrict blood vessels and suppress hormone activity. A study by researchers at the University of Maryland found that laughing while watching a comedic film causes your blood vessels to dilate by 22 percent. That’s because when you laugh, the tissues forming the lining of your blood vessels expand and make room for an increase in blood flow. Twenty minutes of out-loud laughter is actually equivalent to the same amount of physical exercise in decreasing blood pressure!

Horror: For many moviegoers, the horror genre allows them the opportunity to experience events and people who otherwise wouldn’t enter their lives. Horror films also affect your body physiologically, said Dr. George Bakris, who specializes in hypertensive diseases. “Very intense movies do increase heart rate, and if you have coronary heart disease, (they) can increase chest pain and blood pressure,” Bakris said. Know before you go: Watching a horror movie can cause a spike in adrenaline and cortisol levels. That can trigger memories of traumatic events you have experienced, said Bruce McEwen, professor in the neuroendocrinology laboratory at The Rockefeller University in New York, and past president of the Society for Neuroscience. So if you have a bad memory that you don’t want to subconsciously rehash, it would be best to avoid this genre until you’re ready.

Romance: Romantic movies and comedies are similar in that they can both help you cope with outside issues. But though comedies have been proven to decrease stress hormones, lower your blood pressure and so on, romantic movies simply give you a few hours of relief from your life, Wolz said. “Mistakes the characters make are portrayed in a humorous, uplifting and forgiving manner,” she said. This may give you a different perspective on your problems.