Movies and Mental Health: How Films Affect Emotional Well-being

4 people smiling watching a movie
*Collaborative Post

Do you ever ponder how a simple progression of moving images can inspire, entertain, and stir our emotions? Neurocinematics, an exciting field at the junction of cinema, psychology, and neuroscience, aims to unravel this very question. By utilizing neuroscience tools, it delves into the impact of films on our brains.

In 2004, Uri Hasson, a professor at Princeton University, coined the term “neurocinematics” to study how the human brain responds to films. Early cinema theorists and filmmakers sensed that movies could profoundly influence emotions, but only in the 21st century have we started exploring these processes from a neuroscientific standpoint.

a remote control

The Impact of Movies and Mental Health

Frankly speaking, mental health and the impact of films on it will largely depend on which films you choose. However, even a good film can ruin your mood if you cannot watch it due to regional restrictions. All you need to do is set up a VPN and learn how to navigate servers freely. For example, how to install a VPN on Kodi to maintain emotional well-being? The main task is to choose a VPN and download the application for your device. You need to install a good VPN, connect to a server in the region where the movie is available, and log into a suitable add-on with movies.

#1 Strengthen relationships

Have you ever experienced a situation where you felt a film character resonated with you or shared similarities with you? It could be their personality or how they were portrayed. This connection not only affects us emotionally but also helps enhance our emotional intelligence and social connectivity, according to studies conducted by psychologists at Oklahoma University. For their research, they divided participants into two groups. One group watched fictional dramas or documentaries while the other group either watched documentaries or did nothing. Afterward, both groups took the “reading the eyes in the mind” test. The results revealed a consistent emotional response among participants who watched the fictional dramas.

#2 Identification

Films often stir up strong emotional reactions, and this is no coincidence. Filmmakers deliberately employ cinematic techniques to elicit specific emotions. For instance, they use suspenseful music, close-up shots of actors’ faces, or quick edits to intensify sensations of fear or excitement.

Furthermore, when watching narrative storytelling in films, you are encouraged to identify with the characters, immersing yourself in their emotional experiences. You feel joy, sadness, fear, and anger alongside the characters because your mirror neuron system enables you to empathize with their emotional states.

#3 Boost mood

If you’ve had a tough day at work and are struggling to take your mind off things, it can be challenging. Your thoughts keep going back to work despite your efforts. How can you fix it? Maybe watch a movie or Netflix?

Psychological research and therapists confirm that watching movies can be one of the most effective ways to cope with anxiety or depression. Dr. Noah Uhrig, a study group leader on a similar topic, mentions that going to the cinema is a form of social participation with strong egalitarian properties. Unlike other cultural activities like symphonies, ballets, or operas, attending the cinema is less expensive. It is not considered a low-brow activity and is actually part of a diverse leisure portfolio enjoyed by those who also engage in higher cultural activities.

#4 Relaxation

According to a study conducted in 2017, taking breaks and enjoying entertainment can help you relax and recharge. If you want to unwind with a movie, try minimizing distractions by keeping your phone and other devices in another room or in “do not disturb” mode. This way, you’ll only be interrupted for urgent matters. By eliminating distractions, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the plot and have a more soothing experience. Consider watching a romantic comedy or a musical for a relaxing and enjoyable time after a hectic day.

#5 Improve relationships

If you’ve been experiencing a sense of disconnection with someone important in your life ─ be it your partner, best friend, or child ─ watching movies together may offer a solution to rekindle your relationship.

This can be particularly beneficial if you both share the same movie preferences and decide to explore something fresh that ignites mutual enthusiasm.

Not only will you bond while watching, but engaging in a post-discussion about the movie might reestablish a stronger connection between you both.

#6 Reduce stress

mum and daughter watching a film

Watching a comedy show can effectively decrease stress levels. A study conducted in 2016 discovered that laughter can reduce the production of stress hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine, in the body. Even an iOS VPN can reduce stress because you won’t have to spend a lot of time choosing a movie and then realizing it’s not available in your country. Just change the region and you can watch movies without restrictions.

If you’re not feeling up for a good laugh, you might want to consider watching a gripping drama or a tearjerker. Shedding tears can also help lower cortisol levels in the bloodstream, as indicated by a study conducted in 2020.


Partaking in activities you find enjoyable, like watching movies, can bring about numerous benefits. It has the potential to enhance your mental well-being, alleviate stress, and nurture relationships.

However, it is important to note that movies should not be considered a treatment or remedy for mental health symptoms. If your symptoms start to impede your everyday life, seeking assistance from a mental health professional can prove valuable. A professional can assess whether cinema therapy aligns with your lifestyle and determine its suitability for addressing your needs.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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