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Watching a movie is one of my strongest tools for combating depression through distraction. It can have an antidepressant effect by giving my brain a break from obsessive, ruminating, and self-defeating thoughts for two consecutive hours. This allows my brain to readjust and be a bit kinder to me when the movie is over. While there are countless uplifting movies to choose from, I have compiled a list of 10 movies to warch to uplift your depression:
Airplane: Despite not being your typical inspirational movie, the stupid one-liners in Airplane always make me laugh out loud. Laughter is one of the best things you can do for a depressed brain.
The Sound of Music: Even though I know the lines by heart, The Sound of Music still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. The combination of music and the theme of hope and love uplifts and inspires me.
It’s a Wonderful Life: This movie reminds us that we have touched far more people in our lives than we think, that there are angels that surround us, and that there is hope even for the most desperate.
Good Will Hunting: This film is relatable for anyone struggling to find a sense of identity. Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, is brilliant but misguided, and a savvy psychologist helps him find direction in his life.
Rocky: Watching Sylvester Stallone persevere through sheer torture with an impressive single-mindedness inspires me to keep going, even when my mind is telling me to give up.
Rain Man: I empathize and identify with the autistic savant brother Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) as he struggles with his peculiarities on a road trip. Despite his challenges, his heart is good and pure, giving me hope.
E.T.: This movie about friendship, rebirth, and hope is full of inspirational one-liners that resonate with those who feel alienated from everything, like E.T. trying to find his way home.
Field of Dreams: This movie underscores the power of belief in your convictions. Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella interprets a voice saying “If you build it, he will come” as a call to construct a baseball field, and the Chicago Black Sox do come. I come away inspired that if I believe I will be well, I will be.
Forrest Gump: Despite having a low IQ, Forrest Gump succeeds at everything he tries except securing his childhood sweetheart, Jenny. The movie is full of great one-liners and lessons, like anyone can love anyone.
Rudy: Though cheesy, Rudy’s message of perseverance, courage, and conviction to overcome all odds always resonates with me. Plus, the film was filmed at a place near and dear to my heart, Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.