How Movies can be used to Benefit our Mental Health
Different types of movie genres reflect the different effects that movies have on us.
The emotions that movies trigger in us can be very real and have an effect that lasts longer than we might expect. I consider the different movies that I watched as a repertoire. In different situations, I remember parts of movies that stuck with me. Even some of the movies that seem to be made only for entertainment can have a meaningful message that lies underneath their surface. Some movies seem to be packed with action and adventure themes, but in fact they might have important messages to tell.
I tend to find a common thread in many of the movies that I have watched, and this thread is very often the emphasis on family and friends living a happy and healthy life.
In terms of psychological significance, many movies stress the importance of sacrificing for your loved ones and the importance of standing by each other through difficult situations.
Furthermore, thanks to the variety of movies out there, we can easily find a movie to help us through a difficult or unpleasant situation. I will use myself as an example here.
When I feel stressed out because of work piling up on my desk, I take deep breaths in order to alleviate my stress and, if time permits, I allocate 1.5-2 hours later that evening to watch a comedy movie.
This strategy has generally been successful in alleviating my stress, making me laugh, and boosting my mood. This helps me feel more energized and continue my work with a more positive mindset.
I do realize that many of us have very busy schedules, so my intention is to not limit the positive effects listed above to movies only. I often resort to short (2-5 minute) comedy videos that are posted online, which tend to have the same effect as a longer comedy movie. In general, we tend to know what works best for us and what makes us the happiest. This differs across people and across the emotions that they are experiencing.