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Movies to Make You Happy

By Sara Butler

Movie Mood Boosters

Movies are an escape.

Do you want to be a pirate searching for buried treasure in the Caribbean? No problem.

How about going on an adventure to destroy a ring and save all of humanity (and elvenkind)? You can do it!

But movies are more than simply an escape, they’re also a form of therapy. In fact, there are a ton of documented benefits to watching movies. Here’s how movies can lift your mood and a few of our favorites from all of us here at The Joint Chiropractic.

The Benefits of Movie Therapy

Movie therapy (or “Netflix and chill” as the cool kids call it) is great because it’s something you can self-administer on your couch in your sweatpants. Some of the ways movies can benefit your mental health include:

  • Encouraging emotional release - Laughing and crying are both great forms of emotional release. Sometimes we have difficulty expressing ourselves, but if it can be done through the emotional response elicited by a movie, then it can make you feel more comfortable expressing your emotions once you leave the movie screen.
  • Helping to put life in perspective - There’s some evidence that even sad movies can make you feel happier. While that may seem counterintuitive, watching a sad movie can actually help you to put your own life (and struggles) in perspective.
  • Breaking from reality - Escapism is OK. Whatever is currently going on in your life or in the world can be forgotten when you watch a really great movie, giving your brain a rest from the usual.
  • Bringing relief - Suspenseful movies may feel stressful in the moment, but the release of hormones in your brain that the emotions provoked by the movie release will ultimately bring you feelings of pleasure.

A Few Feel-Good Films

Here are a few movies that can take you from sappy to happy in no time flat.

Big - A Tom Hanks classic (and he has many!), Big is one of the most feel-good movies out there. I challenge anyone not to smile during the famous FAO Schwartz piano scene.

The Princess Bride - Want an action movie? An adventure movie? A love story? It’s all here! Watching this movie and not walking away happy is in-con-ceivable!

Toy Story - If you’re looking for some movies the whole family can enjoy together, then any one of the Toy Story movies fits the bill. Toy Story 3 is a personal favorite -- it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, and it’ll make you remember your favorite toy from childhood with fondness.

Crazy Rich Asians - This movie is just fun. It’s got love, it’s got intrigue, it’s got parents with unrealistic expectations. It’s a great movie no matter what mood you’re in.

Coming to America - One of Eddie Murphy’s best, when was the last time you watched this hilarious movie and just let your soul glow?

The Wedding Singer - This movie has it all -- ‘80s mullets, great songs, and Billy Idol on a plane. And the love story makes you feel pretty good, too.

The Devil Wear Prada - Everyone has had a nightmare of a boss so you can totally sympathize with Anne Hathaway’s character in this movie. It’s a dramedy, sure, but it leaves you feeling empowered at the end.

Love, Actually - OK, so many people view this one as a Christmas movie, but it really can be enjoyed no matter what time of the year it is -- and warms your heart even when it’s not so cold outside.

Elf - Another Christmas movie that’s funny any time of the year. If anyone tells you they don’t enjoy this film, then they probably sit on a throne of lies!

Mamma Mia! - Everyone loves a good musical and this one has everything you need to feel good while belting out your favorite ABBA tunes. Coincidentally, music helps to improve your mood, too, so it’s a double whammy!

Bridesmaids - While this movie may keep you out of Brazilian restaurants for the rest of your natural life, it’s also a movie that will make you want to call up your best friend and have a laugh.

Forrest Gump - Another Tom Hanks movie for the win! You can’t help but be infected by Forrest’s positive outlook. Even though life is like a box of chocolates, you do know what you’re going to get with this heartwarming move.

These are just a few of the feel-good movies you can start with, but there are many more out there for you to enjoy. So fire up your television, get cozy, and get ready to let the good feelings flow.

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