How Can Halloween Benefit Mental Health?
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Today’s episode of The Psychology World Podcast is about: How can Halloween Benefit Mental Health? Therefore, today’s episode looks at abnormal psychology and social psychology as we’re looking at a social occasion.
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The Effect of Halloween on Mental Health:
When I realised, I wanted to do a Halloween podcast episode; I browsed articles and sources only to find a lot of them mentioned the negative impact of Halloween on people’s mental health. Especially if they suffered trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (condition) so I was glad when I found these sources.
Personally, I don’t like Halloween.
Moving on, one benefit of Halloween on mental health is it allows people to deal with the realisation that we will die. We will die one day.
Now I know it sounds scary, but it is the true and therefore humans use a wide range of different tactics. To manage the anxiety and fear associated with death. For example, social groups, work and other meaningful activities.
Therefore, Halloween allows us to deal with this fear by us seeing death in a more comical light.
Also, this celebration, if you can call it that, gives us a chance to tap into our darker side and express ourselves in a socially sanctioned way.
Furthermore, Halloween is a great way for fear exposure to occur because a lot of Halloween decoration is in the form of classic phobias. For instance, spiders and bugs.
This helps our mental health because we are being exposed to our fears in a safe, controlled manner.
This is good for everyone.
Especially children as it shows that there’s nothing to be scared of and it’s effective for people who suffer from phobias for the same reason.
Linking Fear Exposure to Phobias:
If you’ve read Abnormal Psychology 2nd Edition, you’ll know that fear exposure is a great way to treat phobias as you’re breaking the association between the fear object and the response. That’s the short version.
Taking that into counter, everyone is more or less taking part in a mass fear exposure theory session on Halloween. Neurobiological evidence supports this.
(See the references to find out more)
Overall, Halloween can benefit mental health because it allows us to help our anxieties and fear about death. Also, neurobiological studies support the idea that Halloween decorations and the celebration helps with fear exposure and phobias.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s abnormal psychology episode of The Psychology World Podcast. If you want to learn more, please check out Abnormal Psychology 2nd Edition.
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Have a great day, everyone!
Craske MG et al. Maximizing Exposure Therapy: An Inhibitory Learning Approach. Behav Res Ther. 2014 Jul; 58: 10–23.
Garcia, R. Neurobiology of fear and specific phobias. Learn Mem. 2017 Sep; 24(9): 462–471