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21 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life

21 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life

As documentaries are grounded in true stories, they can inspire in a way fictionalized films can’t. The emotional impact can be more thrilling than any blockbuster because they’re based on facts, which explains their appeal. Here are 21 of the very best inspirational documentaries you can find—hunt them down and enjoy!

1. Stranded

    Stranded details the events of the 1972 Andes plane crash, as told by the 16 survivors. It’s a harrowing, but exceptionally uplifting, tale of surviving against unimaginable adversity. It’s a documentary absolutely everybody should see.

    2. The Cove

      This will change your views on dolphins in captivity, and the efforts of conservationist Ric O’Barry are life changing. The issue of mercury in the fish we eat is also raised—it hammers this point home with shocking honesty. Revelatory stuff.

      3. Blackfish

        Blackfish also highlights the dreadful nature of captivity, and the lengths conservationists will go to in order to help. The orcas in this film have been held captive for up to 30 years, but their incredible intelligence is overtly displayed in a riveting, moving film.

        4. Food Matters

          In an age of pesticides, preservatives, and mass-produced food, one viewing of Food Matters will make you change your lifestyle for the better.

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          5. Man On Wire

            This is the astonishing tale of Phillipe Petit. The French tight-rope walker waltzed between the two World Trade Centers in New York in 1974. Poignant for obvious reasons, and a rousing portrait of what one person can do.

            6. Senna

              Formula One driver Ayrton Senna captivated the world with his driving skills, personality, and film star looks. In a controversial, but brilliant, F1 career (from 1984–1994), he won three World Championships, but his story met a tragic end. His legacy, however, will never be forgotten.

              7. 1 

                Narrated by Michael Fassbender, 1 (available on iTunes) is an in-depth look at the tumultuous era of Formula 1 racing in the 1960s and 1970s. Tragedy was commonplace, and the push for safety improvements was arduous. The FIA’s safety program has now saved millions of lives via the car industry, and much of this is due to the men who risked their lives then.

                8. Grizzly Man

                  Werner Herzog’s exceptional documentary delves deep into the world of Timothy Treadwell, a conservationist who lived with wild grizzly bears for 13 summers. The video footage he recorded is intimate; sadly his daring met with a tragic end, but Herzog’s film displays his inner turmoil and love for nature.

                  9. Marley

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                    Bob Marley remains a global superstar, and this documentary delves deep into his life to reveal a complex man with a natural gift for music. Poignant and thoroughly inspiring.

                    10. Woodstock

                      The 1969 Woodstock Festival has gone down in legend. What really stands out is the quality of the music on display; whether it’s Richie Havens, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, or Joe Cocker. It’s emotional music and it’s performed before an audience of 500,000!

                      11. Searching For Sugar Man

                        Sixto Rodriguez is a rock star who never was—except in South Africa, where his songs became part of the apartheid movement. Believing their hero to be dead, several fans began a search to discover his fate, only to find something utterly unexpected.

                        12. The Stone Roses: Made of Stone

                          The seminal English band The Stone Roses were scuppered by legal problems at their peak, and split for 16 years. Despite the odds they reformed in 2011 and embarked on several exhilarating homecoming gigs in Manchester.

                          13. The Last Waltz

                            In 1976 Martin Scorsese recorded The Band’s final gig. It’s gone down in history, with Levon Helm’s performance of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down being considered one of the all-time-great live music moments. A must for fans of good music.

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                            14. Beware of Mr. Baker

                              An account of notoriously tumultuous drummer Ginger Baker, once of legendary band Cream. The documentary shows the man and his passions (mainly drumming), but in later life he movingly reconnects with his son.

                              15. Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

                                A teenage, guitar-playing prodigy in the late ’80s, Becker’s life seemed over when he was diagnosed with ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease). Now in a wheelchair and unable to walk or talk, Becker continues to make music. What’s truly exceptional is his lust for life and sense of humor—a remarkable man and example to us all.

                                16. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

                                  In this compelling documentary, two men compete for the title of World Champion on Nintendo’s 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. Bizarrely, this all proves very dramatic and moving.

                                  17. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

                                    Sushi master Jiro runs a tiny restaurant in Tokyo, yet the 87-year-old has three Michelin stars and is regarded as the best sushi chef in the world. The documentary movingly examines his life and earnest dedication to his profession.

                                    18. Touching The Void

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                                      In 1985, two climbers (Joe Simpson and Simon Yates) took on Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. After making the summit, Simpson fell and broke his leg badly during the descent. What followed was a brutal fight for survival with life-changing decisions made at every step of the way home.

                                      19. Project Nim

                                        A British documentary about the chimpanzee Nim. In the 1970s, Nim was entered into a research project to discover if a primate raised in a human family could develop sign language. The results were erratic, and wavered from stirring to heartbreaking.

                                        20. Waltz With Bashir

                                          An Israeli animated documentary by Ari Folman; this is a mesmerising tale telling of the futility of war, and it can make for shocking viewing. The anti-war message is very clear, however, and Waltz With Bashir stands as a warning to the world.

                                          20. Planet Earth

                                            The BBC’s thorough look at the world we all live on, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Simply put: it’s brilliant!

                                            21. Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking

                                              Courtesy of the genius mind of the remarkable Mr. Hawking, we get a thorough look at the Universe. Compelling viewing from one of the world’s leading scientific minds.

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                                              Alex Morris

                                              Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

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                                              Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                                              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                              In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                              Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                              Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                              Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                              Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                              The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                              There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                              How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                              According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                              Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                              Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                              The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                              Listen carefully:

                                              We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                              The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                              Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                              8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                              There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                              Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                              1. Pray Daily

                                              You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                              When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                              Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                              Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                              2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                              A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                              By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                              Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                              If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                              This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                              How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                              3. Smile Often

                                              Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                              Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                              Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                              The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                              4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                              A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                              When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                              Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                              Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                              5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                              I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                              Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                              What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                              6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                              God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                              I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                              I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                              7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                              You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                              How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                              First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                              If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                              If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                              If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                              Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                              8. Go Exercise

                                              Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                              The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                              You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                              12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                              The Bottom Line

                                              It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                              It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                              Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                              More Resources About Mindfulness

                                              Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                              Reference

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