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5 Ways to Calm Down after Horror Flick: “The Quiet Place”

If you’re like me and cannot tolerate too much anticipatory anxiety, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind. 

At one point, I screamed at the top of my lungs!! The music was excellent and also happened to be really loud at the point of my outburst. Before leaving my seat, I apologized to my movie-neighbor for talking and being loud 😂

  1. Go with someone safe.

Plan to watch the movie with someone who is aware of your ‘freak-out-ability’ and is known for being supportive when you need to gather yourself.

My boyfriend actually apologized for taking me to see the film. He can’t resist a flick with 90% or higher rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Bless his heart.

Still, I usually watch the trailers beforehand. I had no clue what was about to happen.  #TheExaggeratedStartleResponseWasReal #KnowledgeIsPower

  1. Take slow breaths from your belly.

Breathing slowly helps recalibrate the body. Look down at your belly to see if you can notice it inflating when you inhale and deflating as you exhale. Basically, visualize that you’re blowing up a balloon. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When you suddenly notice that you’re holding your breath or breathing too fast, BREATHE slowly.

  1. Simmer down with mindfulness.

Right after the movie, give yourself a moment to decompress before carrying on with your schedule. There’s a risk of over-stimulation and possibly a more intense panic situation. Take your time.

Treat the obligatory post-movie bathroom trip as a mindfulness/intentional activity. Focus your attention on the environment to help reduce anxiety.  

For instance, while you’re in the bathroom, NOTICE the number of stalls, the color of the floor tiles, the texture of the tissue, the way your clothes feel on your body, the sound of the flushing toilet, the color and scent of the soap, the design of sink and countertop, the temperature of the soap and water, the way the water sounds and how it feels on your hands, the texture of the paper towels, the size and color of the trash can, and so on.

Remember, the emotional tide will subside. Ride the wave, knowing that it will peak and then decline. As it always does. You cannot stop the waves from rolling; however, you can use strategies to help you cope during and after the experience.

  1. Talk about it.

Talk with your movie mate(s) about your experience at the theater. #Debrief

  1. Channel your energy.

Do something safe/legal/ethical that reliably helps you process your emotions while in a less stimulating environment. I turned my attention toward writing a note on my phone during the drive home. I was compelled to draft a warning for folks like me, the easily startled.

Bonus (because I <3 you): Think “Moderation after Emotional Activation.”

Be sure to monitor your alcohol (and food) intake. If you struggle with drinking/eating problems, you might try a non-alcoholic beverage and/or healthy food item and focus more on other methods of dealing with your emotions.

The idea is to address your emotions using safe/approach strategies, rather than avoidance strategies. Safe/approach Strategies enable you to look at and deal with your emotions in the here-and-now. They also foster both short-term and long-term success.

Attempting to drown out emotions with alcohol or food, does not equate to safe/approach coping, does not set you up for successful coping in the future, and is only somewhat helpful in the short-term due to impending backlash from lack of self-care. The backlash of suppressed emotions can be brutal.  Because they build up and erupt, often when you least expect it.


Let me know if you had a similar experience…freaking out during and/or after this or another movie.

 

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“The Quiet Place” movie needs a Trigger warning!

TRIGGER WARNING:  If you have an exaggerated startle response, you’re gonna want to prepare for anxiety during and after the movie.

First, I don’t prefer horror/suspense flicks because I don’t like mixing pleasure and pain.

Second, I’m genuinely unable to physically and emotionally deal with too much anticipation and such.  

In the rare chance, I watch a scary movie, I tend to become easily annoyed by predictable plots and stupid moves by the characters. If the movie happens to be good and actually scares me, it takes me on an emotional rollercoaster ride (another fun activity I dislike due to the pain/pleasure dilemma).

Back to the movie, I was really triggered!! I pretty much had a mild-to-moderate panic attack that included: holding my breath, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, clenching my fists and holding my significant other’s hand and clothes too tight, breathing loudly (when I remembered to exhale), and intestinal distress.

As I walked out of the auditorium I jokingly said:

“I need some anti-anxiety medication after that.”

Jokes aside, I definitely needed to chillax. And THAT’S OKAY! Self-awareness is a beautiful thing. When it’s joined with self-compassion, we can engage in self-care.

Lastly, be careful to monitor your self-talk about your experience. Thoughts of shame, blame, and self-loathing only make things worse. Rather than judge yourself, tend to yourself.

Keeping this short, but I had to warn you all. I wouldn’t say don’t see the movie, just be prepared to bring yourself back to center afterward.

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Feedback request: “Poetic Wellness”

I’m flirting with the idea of merging my love of poetry with my career.

It’d be an expressive arts-based support group that uses poetry and compassionate discussion of life, mental health, and overall wellness.

Online. I need to find a good online platform, though.

Free, but with the opportunity to make value-based contributions.

And a % would go to a democratically selected charitable organization.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Would you (or people you know) be interested in participating?

Know of any platforms that could support group discussion and sharing?