If you love horror movies, then visiting a haunted house can provide the thrill of being in one without having to actually face down a movie monster. However, some haunted houses—particularly extreme ones featuring psychological stressors—can do a number on your psyche and make it hard for you to sleep. Here are three things you can do to calm down after visiting a haunted house.
Eat Calming Foods
Fear does a number on your body. It gets your heart pumping, you breathing faster, and it floods your nervous system with stress-related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even though you may have visited the haunted house hours ago, you may still be feeling the effects of being scared by flying, faux corpses and disembodied voices.
One thing you can do to counteract this effect is to consume foods and drinks known to calm the body. You may be tempted to eat comfort foods such as French fries, macaroni and cheese, and other items with lots of carbs and sugar, but this can actually make you feel worse. Carbs and sugar cause blood sugar levels to spike in an unhealthy way, which can lead to a crash a short time later that makes you feel sluggish, anxious, and irritable.
Instead, opt for foods that have been known to combat stress, such as oranges, walnuts, dark chocolate, avocados, milk, berries (e.g. strawberries, blueberries), and herbal teas (e.g. chamomile). These foods contain substances that can help calm your nerves. For instance, chocolate contains tryptophan, which may boost serotonin levels and reduce anxiety. Eating a handful of trail mix containing chocolate, nuts, and dried berries may help you calm down faster from being scared.
Get Some Exercise
If the blood, guts, and other scary things in the haunted house made you lose your appetite, but you're still feeling revved up by the experience, another thing you can do to calm yourself is exercise. Moving your body can help you work through any excess adrenaline still coursing through your veins and take your mind off the disturbing things you saw while touring the haunted house.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, vigorous exercise can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression for several hours afterwards. And you don't have to work out for very long either to experience the effects. Moving around for 10 minutes may be just as good as exercising for 45 minutes.
Walking or running through a nature trail can expose you to the soothing sights and sounds of nature. Swimming laps with friends can add some much needed levity to your day. Yoga and Pilates force you to focus on your breathing, which can also help reduce anxiety. Even just dancing to your favorite music can provide relieve any residual stress or anxiety you may be feeling.
Watch a Funny Movie
The brain will have the clearest recall of the most recent images it assimilates. Therefore, another way you can recover from a haunted house is by pushing the memories of it to the back of your mind by watching a comedy movie. In addition to taking your mind off the scariness of the haunted house, laughing has been shown to alleviate anxiety and stress. It can promote good circulation, stimulate your internal organs, and help you relax.
So before going to bed, pop in your favorite comedy movie or watch a lighthearted sitcom to clear your head and help you sleep.
Visiting haunted houses can be fun, but they can leave a long-lasting impression. Use these tips to recover afterwards and get yourself ready to visit another haunted house later on. For more tips on shaking off a scare or to have some fun, visit a haunted house in your town.