Many of us watch horror movies and think, “That character is such an idiot!” But if you really thought about it, could you really do any better against an onslaught of supernatural beasties? Do you have the mental acumen and physical ability to survive the night?
Put aside your natural skepticism of ghosts and zombies for a moment and ask yourself if you are truly healthy enough to battle the likes of Pennywise and Dracula.
Once you realize you have no chance, take a few strategies from our handy Anti-Ghoul Training Plan, which applies real world health advice to these totally fake scenarios.
Ghosts - a mental health approach
While specters like Casper and Slimer have their charms, most ghosts have the ability to leave permanent psychological damage. Don’t base your attitude on those friendly ghosts on Disney’s The Haunted Mansion. Those jolly folks were off-the-clock and partying.
Those with Phasmophobia, or the fear of ghosts, will have a tougher time, but we’ve compiled a few strategies to help anyone encountering the supernatural.
Breathing exercises. Learning to master your breath is a well-studied methodology for calming your nerves. If it helps with panic attacks and alleviating outsized fight-or-flight responses, then it can help with ghost encounters. Some breath exercises to try include:
Box breathing - A technique to use when taking slow, deep breaths. It can relieve stress and improve your concentration. Super easy stuff - 1. Slowly exhale through your mouth. 2. Slowly inhale through your nose and count to four. 3. Hold your breath for a count of four. 4. Exhale through your mouth.
Hof Method - Go deeper by learning more about Wim Hof, a guy known for enduring crazy extreme temperatures by utilizing a specific breathing method. It first involves taking a cycle of 30 deep breaths but exhaling them “passively.” Look, I don’t know, just go to www.WimHofMethod.com for more.
Meditation and Guided Visualization
Meditation has been rising in popularity over the last few years, and people have been easing anxiety and getting better sleep because of this push to find a “quiet calm.” Adding meditation to your daily activities can help you process all challenges in life, including, probably, murderous ghost clowns.
Try downloading the Insight Timer or Calm applications from your smartphone to get started.
The Mayo Clinic defines Biofeedback as a technique for gaining voluntary control of bodily functions that were previously automatic. Specialized clinics offer biofeedback treatments to help you gain control of breathing, heart rate, muscle contraction, temperature and even sweat gland activity.
Ghosts feed off insecurity and weakness, so if your heart is racing or you’re pitting out uncontrollably, that ghost is definitely going to exploit it. Learn to control these automatic fear responses by trying out a couple of at-home devices.
Inner Balance (HeartMath) for Heart Rate Variability ($129-$159): Analyzes and displays heart rhythm pattern and trains you to change that pattern in order to reach a state of “coherence,” or harmony between your heart, brain and nervous system.
Muse ($149-$249): A research-grade electroencephalogram (EEG) device that passively senses your brain activity, heart rate and breath to give you a holistic view of your performance.
Ghouls (Or: How to survive the zombie apocalypse)
They eat human flesh and are annoyingly overexposed in popular culture. Sadly, with that overexposure comes conflicting information on how to survive a potential zombie contamination.
For one, zombies are slow. You don’t need CrossFit-level endurance to survive. This idea of a fast zombie is simply ridiculous, and we won’t speak another word about it. Ridiculous.
That being said, zombies love out-of-shape people because they’re slow and have more plump flesh to chomp. While it’s true you only usually need to be faster than the slowest and weakest in your group, you don’t want to get complacent. Moderate exercise is required.
Anywhere workouts - You need to be able to do your athletic activity anywhere - say you’re barricaded in your home, or you’re stuck on the top of a roof. With a quick, four-minute workout, you should be able to maintain your strength no matter where you are. Work on increasing the number of reps for each activity you do each time, but start with that four-minutes. Do jumping jacks (work up to 100), then do push-ups, squats and pull-ups “to failure,” meaning you don’t stop the activity until you absolutely can’t do them anymore. Okay, maybe keep a little in the tank in case you get a surprise visitor.
Sprints. Not long-distance - Practice running sprints so you can outrun a zombie long enough to make it to a safe place. Instead of going for a run on the treadmill or jogging around the neighborhood, practice interval training (go all out for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds), which will help you build more fast-twitch muscle fibers. It will also help build up your oxygen capacity.
Parkour - Zombies are dumb. If you can jump over stuff and block them, then you’re much more likely to survive. Practice vaulting over small walls and jumping between benches to get started. Or check out that episode of “The Office” where Michael and Dwight master the art form. They’re experts.
Practice your weapon skills - Get comfortable wielding a bat, sledgehammer, sword, and gun. Make sure you build up enough strength and stamina to chop off 100 heads in a row if necessary. If you’re caught in a horde, 100 isn’t unreasonable. You don’t want to get tired on Zombie #73 and be ripped apart.
Other monster considerations
Ghouls and ghosts are the most likely supernatural beings you’ll encounter, but we will briefly consider a few of the other monsters.
A Dracula (aka vampires): These guys are manipulative little buggers, so consider the ghost training above as your best defense. Clear your mind and never look into those sexy eyes. Also, just stay in your house at nighttime and don’t invite them in. Easy.
Mummies: If you’re facing a Mummy, then you probably opened a sacred tomb and have been cursed to damnation. Sorry, bud, you’re dead already.
Witches: Treat women with love and respect and you should be fine.
Werewolves: Shoot them. A lot.
Velociraptors: You’re screwed, unless you make friends with one. Ask Chris Pratt.