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Ep 80: Horror Beauty – A Satire of Our Self-loathing
Horror is a genre in fiction books, film and also art. There has been a rise in popularity for adult horror beauty coloring books, especially as gifts around the time of Halloween. We know that adult coloring specifically induces a mindful state. Mindfulness is a strategy in cognitive behavioural psychology. In fact, studies show that adult coloring book activities lead to a heightened state of self-awareness, increased concentration and better mood regulation. From a neuroscience point of view, coloring can be an activity that cultivates neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is best thought of as increasing brain resilience. The ability to create and form new neuronal connections help with understanding, memory, cognition and mental wellness. With mental health issues taking centre stage in a post-pandemic world, we must look into therapeutic methods that enhance neuroplasticity.
@bydr.twl Do you believe what your eyes see? The Orb of Horror Tells You What You See Link in bio #screammovie Halloween Horror #halloweenlook #halloweenishere #halloween #adultcoloring #adultcoloringbook #scarystories #storytelling #imagination #arttherapy #seeingisbelieving #fypシ #fyp ♬ Halloween ・ cute horror song – PeriTune
Adult Coloring Books For Emotional Regulation
Studies have shown that adult coloring leads to reduced stress levels and a positive impact on many psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, depression and dementia. At the heart of this is the visual-cognitive-kinetic pathways that involve. Essentially, when we practise perceptions of color, space, lines and shapes, different areas in our brain activate. For the same reason, we advocate imagination therapy in art therapy for mental health. Imagination therapy is implemented in many aspects of modern psychology, including training techniques for elite athletes.
The Rise of Horror Beauty Coloring Books
Horror Beauty – A Satire of Our Self-Loathing
@drteowanlin Ep 80: HORROR BEAUTY – A SATIRE OF OUR SELF-LOATHING My fascination with the realm of the imagination as a dermatologist began with my observations of body dysmorphophobia. In this case, sufferers experience horror and self-loathing in a purely imaginary way – yet it is so real it manifests with concrete reactions like continual body-modification attempts with plastic surgery and persistent depression or even suicide. Body dysmorphobia is a classic example of imaginations gone wrong. Sufferers see a distorted vision of themselves, that is no longer consistent with reality. Yet, there is a way we can try to perceive this condition: their distorted vision of themselves directly mirrors their self-image – which is a product of their thoughts, emotions and their personalities. #tsantiherochallenge #beautypodcast #podcastclips #podcasts #beautytok #dermatologist #learnontiktok #halloween #halloweencostume ♬ Anti-Hero – Taylor Swift
My fascination with the realm of the imagination as a dermatologist began with my observations of body dysmorphophobia. In this case, sufferers experience horror and self-loathing in a purely imaginary way – yet it is so real it manifests with concrete reactions like continual body-modification attempts with plastic surgery and persistent depression or even suicide. There is another condition we know as delusional parasitosis which dermatologists manage. Patients imagine infestation of their skin with parasites and start excoriating their skin – self-mutilation results. Interestingly there is usually no other true psychiatric illness, they are able to function normally. However, the resulting artefacts on skin are traumatic – they lead to secondary infections, scarring and even trigger off other dermatological conditions.
Working with such patients perhaps is what gives me a certain insight into the possible psychological processes driving these behaviours. This is also why I have explored imagination therapy as a useful tool for the layperson to navigate their emotions. Body dysmorphobia is a classic example of imaginations gone wrong. Sufferers see a distorted vision of themselves, that is no longer consistent with reality. Yet, there is a way we can try to perceive this condition: their distorted vision of themselves directly mirrors their self-image – which is a product of their thoughts, emotions and their personalities. While genetics do play a role, we have this window of opportunity here to intervene. In the realm of thought life and emotional wellness- neuroplasticity is an emerging concept that gives mental health sufferers a ray of hope.
Horror Beauty: The Science of Fear
The truth is, all of us have bad days. However, for those who suffer from anxiety, depression, obsessions, compulsions, bad imaginations are a way of life. The part of the brain we know as the amygdala activates in fear and stress states. So while we cannot control the events happening around us, the key here is in training the brain to not activate the amygdala in the presence of the perceived trigger.
There is a term we know as catastrophic thinking associated with many mental health disorders. This is when sufferers have an inclination to imagine the worst possible outcome, the severity of these imaginations may be commensurate with that of the illness.
However, for many of us, we simply want to avoid getting there. So we want a way to relieve ourselves of the distress associated with bad things happening to us. While we certainly can’t stop these events in most cases, we can choose to perceive these incidents differently. Our ability to rationalise and use our cognitive abilities to overcome these emotional states can tie to our brain’s inherent neuroplasticity.
Presenting Caricatures of Horror Beauty the Antidote? Conquering Our Fears and Phobias
Our personalities are considered fully formed as adults. A product of our genetics and the environment. One neglected aspect of mental health is cultivating brain neuroplasticity as a form of “brain exercise”. The same reason why we train our bodies with physical exercise. Ensuring that our brain can connect the dots in a healthy way is the key to healthy perception. Healthy perception naturally leads to emotional regulation. Dealing with negative emotions after it occurs may be a little more difficult than changing your perception at the root, converting a moment of difficulty and sadness to one of rising to the challenge.
The Beauty of Horror: Imaginations & Our Emotions
The true impact of the horror genre on the realm of human imagination may be lost amidst the festivities of the Halloween season every October. Why does horror appeal to many of us? It is a satire of our blackest emotions, inviting us to explore our deepest fears, perhaps in a way we think is safe. It gives us an excuse to exhibit primal emotions of fear and terror. These emotions it seems, albeit negative, also can add excitement to the mundane everyday grind. The neurochemical reactions that occur in the brain, however are less than desirable. These trigger off stress hormones that are detrimental to many of our body’s physiological processes. Fear is part of a stressful state that negatively impacts the immune system.
Perfect Ugliness Can Be Perceived as Beauty: The Beauty of Horror
I wonder if there is any one who doesn’t loathe any part of themselves. We practise self-love, because we certainly tend to self loathe. The horror beauty genre offers a unique insight in this aspect. Clearly stunning illustrations of artwork that is at once horror-inducing and gorgeous tells us that our emotional reactions can in fact be honed and trained like a special skill. Ultimately, it all boils down to perception. These Horror Beauties are “beautiful” simply because it elicits the emotion of horror perfectly. Now, part of the definition of beauty must include perfection. In this aspect, we may consider that there is such a thing as perfect ugliness that can be perceived as beauty. This also is a phenomenon that applies to fiction- the realm of our imagination. There is no beauty in the ugliness of cruelty.
Imagination Allows Our Brain to Process Negative Primal Reactions
This is why I feel that imagination therapy holds such great potential in our efforts to cultivate brain neuroplasticity for mental health resilience. We know that the mind-skin-body connection is real, but it is not easy to simply will ourselves not to be stressed, fearful or anxious. Very often, we are also unable to rationalise away our fears and worries. That has little to do with any defects in our personality. It is simply the way human beings are hard-wired to behave. This is why the animal kingdom demonstrates distinct emotional and behavioural responses in contrast to humankind.
A state of mind naturally hardwired in their consciousness – they live in the moment and do not worry about the past or the future. This does not mean that they cannot be traumatised. Abandoned pets demonstrate fearful responses because of reinforced unhealthy neuronal circuits induced by bad experiences. This reflects perhaps how part of our brain biology works as well. However, animals are naturally in a “mindful state”. Mindfulness is a strategy in use with cognitive behavioural psychology techniques to improve mood disorders. It takes one to the present, and can quiet the mind. A state of meditation can also lead to similar effects.
Art Therapy via Horror Beauty Adult Coloring Books
However, it is not easy to simply tell yourself to meditate. I know my mind is rather active – and I have never found success sitting still, let alone meditate. However, as I grew older, I was able to discern certain activities would regularly consistently bring my mind to a quiet state of hyperfocus – it allowed me to “flow” and also led to me feeling calm and contented.
Art therapy is one, and also the two sports I like the most, fencing and equestrianism. Art therapy is the most relevant to our discussion today. In particular, the practice of coloring in coloring books. We all have done coloring activities as children.
Adult coloring books are beneficial because not everyone feels confident about drawing or painting and some may even dislike art. But here, we are emphasising that regardless, adult coloring is an activity that can improve neuroplasticity, so whether one likes it or not, it is beneficial for mental wellness.
Visualising the Beauty of Horror: Aphantasia
Aphantasia is a condition of the mind where the individual is incapable of visualising any imagery. It is quite interesting that screening diagnostic criteria for conditions like autism and Asperger’s also include tests for visual imagery and the ability to visualise. While I’m no expert in these conditions, it is sufficient to deduce that our imaginations form a critical component of mental wellness.
Back to the fascinating observation of the beauty in horror- a genre in fiction that most certainly works via inducing the most terrifying imaginations. In fact part of the appeal is that we wonder most vividly if the very horrifying apparition or vision is going to manifest in reality. Clearly because we know it is fictional. But beyond that I think we are learning to come to terms with a primal emotion- and our brain somehow is able to enjoy this without stress when we indulge in it as a form of escapism. In art, in coloring, in our minds. Appreciation of horror beauty can offer insights into our own psychological states. Perhaps not taking ourselves too seriously for one, as we observe our own primitive reactions of fear and stress with a rational mind.
- Reddan MC, Wager TD, Schiller D. Attenuating Neural Threat Expression with Imagination. Neuron. 2018 Nov 21;100(4):994-1005.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.10.047. PMID: 30465766; PMCID: PMC6314478. [PubMed]
- Zeman A, Dewar M, Della Sala S. Lives without imagery – Congenital aphantasia. Cortex. 2015 Dec;73:378-80. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.05.019. Epub 2015 Jun 3. PMID: 26115582.Drubach D, Benarroch EE, Mateen FJ. Imaginacion: definicion, utilidad y neurobiologia [Imagination: its definition, purposes and neurobiology]. Rev Neurol. 2007 Sep 16-30;45(6):353-8. Spanish. PMID: 17899517. [PubMed]
JOURNEY WITH DR.TWL INTO THE ORB OF HORROR
A brand new genre juxtaposing kawaii chibi anime with dark poetry exploring painful emotions. This CREEPY KAWAII HORROR BEAUTY series harnesses the power of the mind and neuroplasticity to overcome depression, anxiety and stress. Kawaii illustrations of the protagonist showcasing facial expressions of fear, anxiety and stress are deliberately used to trigger an emotional reaction via the brain’s intuitive perception of facial expression, adding a light-hearted, sardonic twist to tragedy and catastrophe.
This Halloween, Treat Yourself to a Frightful Journey – Coloring the Beauty of Horror in Your Own Mind