When you curl up on the couch and browse Netflix for some on-screen entertainment, you may not think much about how your movie choice is reflecting or influencing your health. However, your taste in movies might say more about you than you think, and the films you watch could be causing you to take part in certain behaviors by influencing you on a subconscious level. Keep reading for a closer look at what movies can reveal about your health and wellness.
How Movies Influence Behavior
Movies can make you feel a wide range of emotions, which may make you behave in certain ways. For example, watching a romantic movie could help you take a more light-hearted approach to your own personal relationships, since most romantic flicks have comic relief and uplifting themes of forgiveness. Here’s a few other habits that might be altered by watching a particular genre of film.
• Snacking habits – Before you sit down for a tear-jerking movie, you might want to step on the scale, since sad movies promote excessive snacking. When we are sad, it is natural to turn to food for comfort, and comfort foods tend to be those that are packed with calories, sugar, and fat. Watching a comedy, on the other hand, can keep your snacking in check, since feeling good will reduce the urge to compulsively snack.
• Alcohol use – Movies often glamorize alcohol, failing to show the morning after with hangovers and a log of embarrassing text messages. This type of glamorization is likely to make teens more prone to social alcohol use and binge drinking. A recent study showed that teens who are exposed to films that showcase alcohol use are 20% more likely to have tried alcohol and 70% more likely to binge drink. Similar effects have been shown in films showcasing cigarette use.
• Physical activity – Watching horror movies could promote healthy behaviors, since horror films cause a spike in adrenaline and cortisol, which might give you an energy boost that could promote physical activity. There may, however, be a downside for individuals who are into extreme sports, since adrenaline seekers may seek more dangerous activities when hormone levels rise.
Physiological Effects of Film
In general, movies that tend to have the most positive effects on health and behaviors are comedies. Comedic films make us laugh and feel good, which promotes healthier behaviors and a decrease in stress hormones. Horror movies can have both positive and negative effects, while sad films tend to make us seek the comfort of an extra-large bowl of buttered popcorn.
As you take note of the healthy and not-so-healthy behaviors that your movie tastes may influence, you can check in with a physician anytime day or night through the convenient online platform of MeMD.