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10 Movies You Should Watch To Boost Your Mood And Energy

10 Movies You Should Watch To Boost Your Mood And Energy

If you’re like me, you love films. Movies have the power to effect our entire mood. They make us want to change ourselves and even change the world. There are films that make you cry (when you need a good cry), films that help you vent your frustrations and films that enliven you.

Here are 10 movies with themes that range from motivational to fun. This list includes Hollywood classics and Pixar titles, and every one of them has the potential to leave you feeling inspired, motivated or bring you to your happy place.

1. Meet John Doe

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    “I know a lot of you are saying, ‘What can I do? I’m just a little punk. I don’t count.’ Well, you’re dead wrong.The little punks have always counted because in the long run, the character of a country is the sum total of the character of its little punks.” – Long John Willoughby/John Doe

    Meet John Doe is the quintessential ‘fight for the underdog’ film. Gary Cooper’s character represents the John Doe’s of America. The movie includes a series of speeches about empowering the average citizen. Its theme is about the power of the people and never thinking you don’t matter just because you’re an Average Joe. Its message of hope and determination will leave you feeling self-confident, better about humanity and optimistic about the potential of the world’s citizens to enact positive change.

    2. Chariots of Fire

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      “You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul.” – Eric Liddell

      This film has a spiritual foundation in its message, but isn’t about religion. Eric challenges conventional thinking and questions what it means to glorify God. For those of us who are not spiritual, this can mean making your mark on the world the best way you can, regardless of how others think you should. Chariots of Fire is about endless determination, working hard towards achieving your goals, being proud of your accomplishments and doing what you love. Its infamous ‘running on the beach scene’ might be a cheesy pop culture reference, but anyone who tells you they didn’t feel at least a little inspired by that scene is lying. Nothing gets the heart pumping like watching an intense race!

      3. The King’s Speech

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        “King George VI: L-listen to me…”

        “Lionel Logue: Why should I waste my time listening to you?”

        “King George VI: Because I have a right to be heard! I have a voice!”

        “Lionel Logue: …Yes, you do. You have such perseverance, Bertie. You’re the bravest man I know. You’ll make a bloody good king.”

        The King’s Speech is the true story of the former King of England, George VI, and his journey to overcome a debilitating stammer. Not only is The King’s Speech a heartening film, it also has gorgeous cinematography. The color schemes might be cool and dark, but the plot is anything but. It’s hard to feel hopeless when you’re watching a king struggle, just like commoners. The movie makes you realize even the royals have mortifying moments and personal flaws. It will leave you renewed and determined to conquer your obstacles.

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        4. Remember the Titans

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          “This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting amongst ourselves today… Listen to their souls, men. ‘I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family.’ You listen, you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were.” – Coach Boone

          This movie is a cult classic, and rightly so. If you’re not interested in sports, don’t let that deter you from watching this movie. Although it’s about a high school football team, the personal and professional obstacles the team and their coach must overcome are highly relatable. Watching the characters prevail against prejudice, and learn to work as a team, is something we can all be motivated by. Remember the Titans will make you feel ready to take on the world.

          5. Up

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            “That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” – Russell

            Once you get past its tear-jerking opening, Up is full of feel-good moments. This is one of those go-to movies when you need a pick-me-up, or to need to feel like there’s some good left in this world (even if the world appears computer-animated). If you’re feeling low, or just kind of “blah”, Up will never fail to boost your mood.

            6. School of Rock

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              “Dude, I service society by rocking. I’m out there on the front lines liberating people with my music.” – Dewey Finn

              As the Dewey says in the film, “You’re not hardcore, unless you live hardcore.” If you need more than just a mood boost, but an energy boost as well, few movies beat School of Rock. It’s hilarious and jam-packed with classic rock anthems to pump you up. Plus, there are a few gems of actual heart-warming advice in there. Rock on, kids.

              7. The King and I
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                Kralahome: “Why are you so blind; have you no eyes to see? King tries impossible task – wishing to be scientific man who know all modern things… He will only tear himself in two, trying to be something he can never be!”

                Anna: “Of course he can never be, if those who are closest to him are unwilling to help him!”

                Another classic from the way-back machine, The King and I has a unique premise and provides a good laugh too. The silly, 1950s era “cultural differences” between the King of Siam and the English-bred schoolteacher in his court are ridiculous and entertaining. Among the one-liners, there’s also a good story about breaking down cultural barriers in order to understand one another. Add this movie to your bucket list, it’s a classic that is still relevant in modern times.

                8. Despicable Me

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                  “When we were adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like ‘Annie’.” – Edith

                  Despicable Me is so enjoyable, that I don’t even mind when my little brother asks to watch it a million times. This is one of those kid movies that appeals to adults too. When you’re feeling grumpy, or extra jaded, watching this movie will easily lift your spirits. The sequel isn’t half bad either.

                  9. Cool Runnings

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                    “Hey, it doesn’t matter tomorrow if they come in first or fiftieth. Those guys have earned the right to walk into that stadium and wave their nation’s flag. That’s the single greatest honor an athlete can ever have. That’s what the Olympics are all about. Sixteen years ago I forgot that. Don’t you go and do the same.” – Irving “Irv” Blitzer

                    Pure inspiration and motivation, Cool Runnings is a film you won’t forget. This is a must-see movie. The plot, a group of native-born Jamaicans trying to train for Olympic bobsledding, provides all the comedy you could ever want. The movie is based on a true story and the raw determination of the athletes is energizing. Their story is remarkable and if you only pick one film from this entire list – watch this one.

                    10. Legally Blonde

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                      “I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” – Elle Woods

                      If you’ve never seen Legally Blonde, don’t write it off as a chick flick. The lead character, Elle Woods, is a boss. Watching her disprove all the people who doubted her intelligence is truly satisfying. You’ll feel like taking on a room full of haters after seeing her slay in and out of the courtroom. And you’ll learn the famous ‘bend and snap’…just try not to break anyone’s nose.

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                      Featured photo credit: Meet John Doe/Warner Bros. Entertainment via doctormacro.com

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                      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                      What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                      Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                      Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                      According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                      Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                      Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                      Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                      The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                      Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                      So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                      Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                      One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                      Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                      Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                      The Neurology of Ownership

                      Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                      In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                      But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                      This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                      Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                      The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                      So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                      On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                      It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                      On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                      But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

                      More About Goals Setting

                      Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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