Why Film and Entertainment Make us Feel Good

Movie theater

There are many ways we can help improve our mental health, but in the spirit of World Mental Health Day, we’re shedding light on the ways audio and the entertainment industry help improve and support mental health every day. Join us as we share insights from faculty on the science behind this, and the ways they find peace through the power of sound and film. 

We’ve all been there—you’ve just finished a long day of work, school, or whatever else is on your plate, and you settle in with a show or movie you’ve been waiting to watch. Once you press play, the day’s stress drifts away as you escape into the magic of film and television. At campuses across the US, we specialize in educating students for the audio and entertainment industry, and many of our graduates go on to produce the sound, work on set, manage talent, and otherwise participate in bringing these experiences to life. 

Not only are these experiences entertaining, but they can help improve our well-being. From casual viewing to cinema therapy, film, and entertainment can make a big impact on our lives. 

Why film and entertainment feel good

Movies and shows are a great tool for escaping your daily reality. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, they can help you cope. Comedies have been proven to decrease stress hormone levels and blood pressure. According to this study, comedies, and movies that make people laugh, have a positive impact on vascular function. This, however, is the opposite effect of watching a mentally stressful movie—so your choice in film matters! 

There’s also a social element. Whether you watch a film or show with friends and family, or you discuss the highs and lows on Reddit or social media, engaging over entertainment can make you happier. If you watched Game of Thrones (and you probably did) you might recall just how much of a cultural phenomenon it became. A weekly episode became the topic of conversations across almost every medium you can think of. Socializing can help reduce feelings of loneliness, and also sharpen memory, cognitive abilities, and may even help you live longer

Even more, movies can help us learn new things. You don’t have to watch a documentary to pick up new knowledge, learn about other cultures and even change your perspectives on important historical, social, or political issues. 

How is cinema therapy different? 

Cinematherapy, also known as cinema therapy and movie therapy, involves therapist-directed viewing of movies for specific therapeutic purposes. This method is used as part of individual therapy, family therapy, or group therapy, it can even be beneficial as part of couples counseling. GoodTherapy explains, “The combination of thematic elements—music, dialogue, lighting, and images—can often evoke deep feelings in viewers, both allowing for personal reflection and providing a new perspective on external events.”

Therapists use film elements like metaphors, imagery, and symbolism to help those in treatment explore thoughts and feelings. Movies can also be used as a way for people to discuss their feelings and thoughts about a relevant issue in a safe way, by referencing characters rather than themselves and those they know. 

Because most of us interact with it so frequently, it’s common to underestimate the power of film and entertainment as contributing to our health and wellbeing. While it might not be your doctor’s order to sit around and watch TV all day, there are plenty of scenarios where watching films and television can add value to your life. We’re so passionate about the impact of creative media and entertainment, we’ve made it our life’s work. Interested in being a part of the industry? Learn more about our Digital Film, Entertainment Business, and Audio programs on our website.