How Do Movies Boost Our Mental Health?

This post on movies and mental health has kindly been written by Stephen from MovieSmart. For more information about Stephen and his website please see below.

girl holding movie clapper
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Over the past few months I’m sure all of us have found ourselves feeling isolated, depressed, and sometimes just not okay. This season of uncertainty has personally been really rough for me. So I completely understand how mental health and well being is a priority now more than ever.

For me, I turned to mass media. I know, I know, not the greatest source of mental stability. That being said, movies and television help me in a lot of ways. Movies helped me experience connection, emotions, and stories that I haven’t experienced personally in such a long time.

So why movies?

Why do movies bring out these types of responses in us?

The emotions we feel in movies, often mimic how we feel in real life.

Emotional Responses to Movies

I remember over the summer I decided to rewatch an older movie that I hadn’t seen in a long time. This movie was The Notebook. As many of you know, The Notebook is a love story that features plenty of sad and touching moments. As I watched how Noah missed Allie, and saw his reaction to seeing her, I started to cry. It was emotional for me because I hadn’t been able to see my loved ones in so long.

The emotions I felt mimicked the exact emotions Noah had.  I felt my emotions boil over. I couldn’t handle it.

So, I turned over and just paused the movie and let it out. The emotions this movie allowed me to experience were emotions that I hadn’t felt in so long. They were a distant past, brought back to the forefront of my mind.

Why is that so important now though?

Right now, with the COVID-19 virus, the endless deaths, the political turmoil, even just the isolation of everyday life. Mental health is something everyone is struggling with right now. But emotional stability can help improve our mental health on so many levels.

While being emotionally happy doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy all the time. It does mean that you are interacting with your emotions and your mental health can be greatly improved from just that simply action.

Movies allow us to escape our harsh reality and experience emotions that mimic our own. The stories they tell can help us push through tough times and engage with each other and ourselves on a much deeper level.

For more on mental health and self care during Covid-19 read here.

What Can Movies Tell You About Yourself?

Lately, I have spent a lot of time focusing on myself, my goals, my ambitions, my life in general. I have found that the anxiety I have faced when it comes to plans, expectations, and just the realities of life have often left me speechless.

When I didn’t have an answer for life, I personally turned to movies. One of my closest friends turned to art, another to reading, but in every facet of life we face expectations, and every time we can find a way to push through them.

I personally love film, and if you love film as well I urge you to come check out www.moviesmart.org, this is my home website where I talk about all of the films over the years that I truly love. From Shawshank, to Avatar, to Star Wars, to The Notebook, movies have changed my life in so many ways.

They encouraged me to accept the best parts of myself, encouraged me to move forward with the most important things in life, and let go of the things that don’t matter.

A big trend in pop culture today is “Main character energy”. Young people describe this as a certain type of energy or vibe you get when you are around someone that seems to be the main character in their own narrative. Well, I am here to tell you, that line of thought only destroys self-confidence and in no way is an indicator of the type of person someone is.

Everyone is the main character of their own life. So, take control and realize that your movie, your story, matters.

What are your thoughts about movies and mental health? Which movies do you love? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

This post was written by Stephen Stapleton. He is currently in college in the United States. Over this past year he found himself wondering what to do with his life. He had always wanted to make an impact on people’s lives and pursue something that meant a lot to him. So, he started Movie Smart. He only had a few hundred dollars in the bank and was already working multiple jobs. Yet, he knew this might be one of the few times he could pursue something recklessly in his life, so he went for it.

Movie Smart has grown to become a brand that he is proud to call his own. He is still a super small time blogger, but the potential for growth is growing every single day. He can’t wait to be able to bring on new people, expand more towards making films of his own, and eventually having merchandise that is available worldwide.

If you would like to check out his page, it is called www.moviesmart.org. Any criticism, support, or love in general is greatly appreciated. He loves talking to people about movies and life in general so please do not hesitate to support!

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