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One of the best coping mechanisms I use against depression is distraction, and watching a movie is a great distraction.
The right movie can actually work as an antidepressant by providing relief to the brain and temporarily stopping negative thoughts.
During those 120 minutes, the brain can readjust a little and become a little bit more positive by the end of the movie.
Here is our selection of depression-relieving films.
Before reading the post, I suggest you watch this video:
What to watch when depressed: TOP 15 movies
#1 500 Days Of Summer
If you’re feeling down, start with 500 Days of Summer.
This rom-com guarantees an unpredictable finale. The movie follows Tom Hansen’s self-reflection on his relationship with his ex-girlfriend and best friend, Summer Finn, over 500 days.
Through Tom’s story, the movie’s message is that life is all about perspective, and opportunities are always around the corner.
You simply need to seize them. 500 Days of Summer accurately depicts that good things are yet to come, and you must learn to release your past to embrace the future.
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This movie is not your standard inspirational show. Nevertheless, it makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it.
Laughter is one of the best things you can do for a depressed brain. The one-liners in this movie are so ridiculous that they become humorous.
Even after watching it 31 times, they still give me a good laugh. I am certain it will make you feel better, and no, you can’t call me Shirley.
#3 It’s Kind of a Funny Story
The film made me aware of my condition. When I see it, it reminds me that I’m not the only one with a mental health issue and that it’s possible to feel good while living with one.
When you want movies to watch when depressed, you might have even more depressing thoughts if some of this list isn’t on Netflix.
In fact, movies and shows on UK Netflix are different from the US library. To watch Netflix UK just turn on your VPN.
You can use VeePN, which not only bypasses blocking but also provides enough speed for high-definition movies.
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After the death of her son in a car accident, Claire Bennet (played by Jennifer Aniston) finds herself battling chronic pain.
Her reliance on pain medication, coupled with her helpless and antagonistic behavior has become her new reality.
Despite the diagnosis, an under-recognized invisible illness affecting millions, her recovery gets further impeded as she takes on a legal battle and has a chance encounter with a suicidal individual and the man responsible for the accident.
#5 Inside Out
Next up, “Inside out”! It’s an awesome movie to watch when feeling down.
The movie is about an 11-year-old girl who moves from Midwest to San Francisco and how that affects her emotions.
Inside Out depicts the five basic emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger and how they control the protagonist’s actions. It helps you understand that it’s alright to feel not okay sometimes.
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#6 Good Will Hunting
Anyone who is struggling to find their identity will relate to this movie. Will Hunting, a janitor working at MIT, is brilliant but lost. An astute psychologist (Robin Williams) assists him in finding direction in his life.
#7 Field of Dreams
A farmer from Iowa, Ray Kinsella (portrayed by Kevin Costner), was moved by a mysterious voice urging him to build a baseball field on his farm, so the Chicago Black Sox could come and play.
This movie is a testament to the incredible influence that conviction and faith can have in our lives.
It left me feeling motivated and encouraged to believe that positive outcomes are achievable through the power of belief.
Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland star in an odd yet fascinating story where a rogue planet called Melancholia collides with Earth, causing destruction.
The film depicts the lives and relationships of a few individuals in the lead-up to the apocalypse.
As events unfold, the already-strained relationship between the two sisters is further tested.
With serious questions on emotional management under stress, the film intriguingly challenges the idea that melancholic people are unstable.
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#9 About Time
If you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up, About Time is definitely worth watching. It may surprise you — it’s not exactly a typical love story.
Through the film’s lessons on gratitude and appreciating life’s simple pleasures, you’ll learn to stop worrying and embrace every moment.
Perhaps the most important message of the movie is that dwelling on the past won’t bring you happiness or help you live a better life.
The key is to take it one day at a time and start living your life to the fullest.
The movie’s upbeat music cleverly masks its thought-provoking scenes.
I enjoy how the protagonist’s grandmother supports her amidst discouragement from others.
Despite challenges, Grandma even reassures her granddaughter that quitting was still something to be proud of.
#11 Little Miss Sunshine
Join the Hoovers, a multi-generational family portrayed by Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Alan Arkin on their hilarious road trip out west.
As they face various mishaps, the family slowly transforms and learns to work together.
They realize that their differences can complement each other rather than stir conflict, and the family van becomes their unifying symbol.
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#12 Perks Of Being A Wallflower
It’s a tale of a socially clumsy and introverted freshman who becomes pals with two free-spirited upperclassmen.
It’s about finding yourself again after a tough time in school. The film teaches self-love and acceptance.
#13 Rain Man
As soon as I met Raymond Babbitt, the autistic savant brother portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the movie, I could identify with him and feel his pain.
Raymond has numerous quirks like counting straws and being afraid of running water, which make a cross-country road trip nearly impossible.
Nevertheless, his heart is pure, and his goodness will ultimately help him.
#14 Manchester by the Sea
Manchester by the Sea, nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year and winner of two Oscars, is a powerful portrayal of grief and loss.
The film follows Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a socially isolated janitor who returns to his hometown after his brother’s death, where he becomes his nephew’s legal guardian, leading to unexpected complications.
Look out for symptoms of grief, both past and present.
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#15 Silver Linings Playbook
This romantic comedy-drama was nominated for Best Picture and Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
It follows Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, who moves back with his parents after being released from a psychiatric hospital. Pat has bipolar disorder and is trying to win back his wife.
He meets Tiffany, a young widow with borderline personality disorder, who offers to help him in a dance competition.
Pat, his father, and Tiffany reflect on their relationships while coping with their personal situations.
Here we have a podcast for those who suffer from depression:
As it turns out, films can be a wonderful outlet for relieving feelings of depression. Whether it’s a comedy to distract from thoughts or an inspiring story to lift your spirit, there are many movies to find comfort in.
These depression-relieving films can be seen as a source of strength during difficult times and even used as an avenue of self-expression and therapy.
So the next time you’re feeling down and need something to get your mind off of stressors, putting on one of these depression-relieving films can help bring you some peace of mind and give you the ability to escape reality for just a bit longer.
Maybe ultimately reduce those feelings of loneliness and sadness while allowing the moods and emotions of the film to become part of our own journey towards healing.