Kids’ flicks came out top while Pulp Fiction & Se7en should be avoided if feeling anxious.
To mark National Stress Awareness Day this week, film and TV streaming service blinkbox has joined forces with the Stress Management Society to identify the top stress-busting film genres - and those that can put us most on edge.
Volunteers were subjected to a selection of trailers from the latest blinkbox releases across 10 genres, ranging from musicals and romcoms to horrors and psychological thrillers, while stress levels and blood pressure were monitored using the latest technology.
The Kids and Musical genres were shown to significantly reduce the volunteers’ blood pressure and pulse. The top five strain-busting genres and the films our guinea pigs were exposed to are:
1) Kids: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. The adventure on the high seas from the team behind Wallace & Gromit saw pulse and heart rates plummet.
2) Musical: Rock of Ages. Starring Tom Cruise as heartthrob Stacee Jaxx, this film’s soundtrack of 80s soft rock hits mellowed our volunteers nicely.
3) Sci-Fi: Prometheus. Ridley Scott’s science fiction looking into the origins of mankind certainly gets the brain working in overdrive – but surprisingly not the heart.
4) Romance: The Five Year Engagement. This romantic comedy starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel could be a great choice for combating stress.
5) Comedy: The Dictator, an outrageous comedy co-written and starring Sacha Baron Cohen may well be the perfect tonic after a hard day at work.
Neil Shah, from the Stress Management Society, commented: “Comedy films, animations and romcoms are clearly great stress busters. A significant reduction in blood pressure and stress levels was witnessed when volunteers watched scenes from these genres. Conversely, for those watching stressful scenes from action, thriller or horror films, a significant rise in stress levels was observed.”
The study also identified some films to consider saving for the weekend if feeling anxious. Volunteers were subjected to some of five most stressful scenes in movie history, with the scene from Pulp Fiction when John Travolta’s character Vincent Vega gives Uma Thurman (Mia Wallace) an adrenaline shot coming out on top.
The full top five are:
1) Pulp Fiction – Adrenaline Shot
2) Se7en – Ending
3) War of the Worlds – Basement Scene
4) Rear Window – Up The Stairs
5) Jurassic Park – Kitchen
Neil noted: “Dramatic, tense scenes do nothing to help stress levels. We saw measured increases in blood pressure and heart rate in our volunteers whilst watching the stressful scenes we selected. Such films might be better saved for the weekend when our stress levels are generally lower.”