The Psychological Benefits of Watching Movies

Film is very beneficial to viewer's mental health | Source: Premium Hollywood

Besides providing an entertaining experience to its viewers, movies are proven to have psychological benefits. Therapists have used film therapy as a relaxing and mentally soothing activity. Watching a few episodes of a TV show or a longer film is actually way more worthwhile than thought. Below are a few of the benefits of film watching: 

  1. Relaxation: Somewhat obviously, certain films allow for a soothing experience. Watching a movie allows one to disconnect from their surroundings for a duration of time. Our minds are actively engaged with the television, allowing external thoughts and worries to fade away. Musicals or romantic comedies are great examples of relaxing films.
  2. Motivation: Fictional characters can act as motivating agents. Seeing an iconic character may influence the viewer to become more like that character or become less like a repulsive character. Certain action lines may inspire viewers to take on similar activities in their own lives. For example, a very passionate character may influence a viewer to pursue their own personal interests. 
  3. Relationships: Throughout the industry, films and shows show very different familial and friend relationships. Watching and analyzing these relationships may allow one to reflect and grow on their own connections. 
  4. Cultural/Social Reflection: Films bring awareness to social topics, many that may be thought-provoking and influential to viewers. Witnessing another culture, viewpoint, or background can have great effects on viewers. Social commentaries, particularly documentaries, allow for an educational experience. 
  5. Emotions: Film watching has a cathartic effect, allowing viewers to experience strong emotions through an activity. This can be very beneficial for those who have trouble expressing emotions, as films may easily prompt them to laugh, cry, or experience an emotion. 
  6. Relief: Watching stressful movies, such as horror, may actually make us feel better in the long run. Temporary stress releases cortisol, which is automatically met with dopamine, once that stress is erased. This emotional rollercoaster may be very beneficial to viewers. 

As the end of the year approaches, relaxation and stress relief are more important than ever. Taking a two-hour break to watch a movie or a television show may be very beneficial to anyone. Movies are a great way to relax and disconnect from our busy world. 

About the Author

Elizabeth Alcala
Elizabeth, or Liz, Alcala was the 2021-2022 Co-Editor-in-Chief. She lived in 06 all three years and 06B her last year. Liz was also involved with Exodus and Active Minds and is a proud guitar player and film buff. She plans to study Chemistry at Northwestern University onwards.

1 Comment on "The Psychological Benefits of Watching Movies"

  1. Brooke Haynes | August 5, 2022 at 10:10 am | Reply

    How can watching misrepresentation of mental health in movies possibly be beneficial to someone struggling with a form of it? Movies stigmatize and paint this violent character.

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