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Last Updated on January 17, 2018

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 September 20, 2018

                                              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                              Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                                              If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                                              1. Breathe

                                              The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                                              • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                                              • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                                              • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                                              Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                                              2. Loosen up

                                              After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                                              Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                                              3. Chew slowly

                                              Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                                              Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                                              Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                                              4. Let go

                                              Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                                              The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                                              It’s not. Promise.

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                                              Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                                              Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                                              21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                                              5. Enjoy the journey

                                              Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                                              Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                                              6. Look at the big picture

                                              The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                                              Will this matter to me…

                                              • Next week?
                                              • Next month?
                                              • Next year?
                                              • In 10 years?

                                              Hint: No, it won’t.

                                              I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                                              Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                                              7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                                              You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                                              Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                                              8. Practice patience every day

                                              Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                                              • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                                              • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                                              • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                                              Final thoughts

                                              Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                                              Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                                              Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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