How Zombies Protect You During the Pandemic

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Pick your poison: When it comes to fleeing the undead, you've got lots of options. There are the shamblers, the fast zombies, the semi-intelligent ones, even nonhuman kinds. We love zombies, from ​The Walking Dead​ to ​iZombie​ to ​Train to Busan.​ Funny story, though — loving these horror stories may have helped save our skins during this real-life pandemic.

Psychologists at Penn State University have just released what might be the most entertaining study about COVID on the books. Individuals who enjoy scary movies and television may have better coping strategies for getting through a terrifying global disease in real life.

"[T]he more movies about zombies, alien invasions, and apocalyptic pandemics people had seen prior to COVID-19, the better they dealt with the actual, current pandemic," said lead author John Johnson. "These kinds of movies apparently serve as mental rehearsal for actual events."

If you aren't already a fan of world-ending media, this might not be the most helpful news; you may stress yourself out more than is necessary if you try to get on that train now. Still, if you're curious about what people like about being scared, consider why we enjoy haunted houses.

It's not the only way to center yourself, of course. Given how much strain COVID has put on our lives, we can all use help bringing ourselves some inner peace. If giving yourself a fright sounds appealing, though, Johnson says to go for it. "Stories are not just entertainment," as he puts it, "but preparation for life."