Winter, a whimsical time of year, promising warm snug nights in and sparkly Christmas cheer. Festivities upon us and comfort food in the plenty we yield light on the wintry days. For the majority who live in the northern hemisphere of the globe, during the months of November to early March we endure shorter days, basking in little or no sunlight for a large portion of the day.
It has become plausible that for countless people the absence of sunlight can have a significant effect on one’s mood, thankfully due to the advance of medical knowledge and the more accepting attitudes of modern-day we now have the evidence and the tools to find solutions without passing judgment or discrimination.
So what are these particular tools? We now know that adding artificial sunlight can increase our mood, especially for people who suffer from seasonal depression (SAD) using such products as SAD approved lights, but how and why do films come into the equation? It has become my own personal revelation, that films do in fact boost your mood.
You may be thinking, of course they increase your mood, everyone knows this, I mean hello comedy, feel good films?! I thought so as well, until I discovered there’s an interestingly large amount of articles and theories backing up statements that films are in fact considerable for people experiencing low mood episodes. After a quick google search, Psychology Today‘s site offered insight on the subject.
“unlike reading, watching movies gives the viewer the option to absorb a story complemented by music to intensify the emotion or movement of the plot and it comes with the ease of seeing the characters’ faces and hearing their voices make meaning of the words. The visual and auditory components can stimulate emotions in powerful ways, providing the opportunity to engage fully with story, to get emotions out of your system, to stir empathy for the characters (and possibly for oneself) and perhaps even feel less alone in your situation.”
Interestingly in another supporting article from Time.com, it’s suggested that films inhibiting more depressing or emotional story lines actually improve a viewers mood, a strange twist, but all the more intriguing.
“People seem to use tragedies as a way to reflect on the important relationships in their own life,” Knobloch-Westerwick told Science Daily. “That can help explain why tragedies are so popular with audiences, despite the sadness they induce.” But those who were more selfish-minded, with a “my life isn’t as bad as this” perspective, did not see an increase in a more positive outlook.”
I write this article from first hand experience. It only seemed to register last year that like many I became less enthusiastic, experienced spats of low moods and enjoyed isolation during the winter months. At first I thought the idea was outrageous, that darker days could have such a profound effect on ones mental health, but it’s indeed more common than I could have imagined.
Whilst we encounter low mood episodes it’s essential to ensure we use everything within our power to keep a ‘healthy’ state of mind. It’s recommended that when one wants to improve ones mood we should take up regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet, realistically this is a great and tactful strategy, to not only improve our mental health but to also prioritize our physical health.
Realistically speaking, in the cold winter days, and with the run up to Christmas I don’t expect anyone to turn into a spinach eating gym bunny, when you have social events, and pigs in blankets being shoved in your face from every corner.
When you feel like crawling under your duvet and not speaking to anyone I believe the gym may sometimes not always be the answer, but a film could be. Truthfully speaking it’s the most accessible from your hibernation station. It’s delightful to realize that something so convenient may improve our ability to process more positive thoughts and feelings.
To be absolutely clear, I’m talking precisely about a standard low winter mood, where you tend to be more inclined to socialize with your bed than with humans.
Suggestions I have in the plenty! See below some of the most mood enhancing films. ( In my opinion of course)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986
Little Miss Sunshine, 2006
Forrest Gump, 1994
Legally Blonde, 2001
Toy Story, 1995
Love Actually 2003
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946
The Shawshank Redemption 1994
Big Fish 2003
Horrible Bosses 2011
Bridget Jones Diary 2001
The Secret life of Walter Mitty 2013
The Pursuit of Happiness 2006
Step Brothers 2008
The Princess Bride 1987
The Wizard of oz 1939
Benny and Joon 1993
The Bucket List 2007
The Trueman Show 1998
500 Days of Summer 2009
The Help 2011