There’s something incredibly relaxing about settling down to watch a great show or movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Therapists have in fact discovered that certain shows can actually boost your mood, and in some cases, lessen the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a winter-related malady that is triggered by the lack of sunlight in winter, which affects levels of melatonin and serotonin in the part of the brain that controls mood, sleep and appetite.
Taking in natural sunlight, eating a nutrient-dense diet and getting plenty of exercise can help alleviate symptoms. But so can watching the right shows. Shows that inspire hope, follow a character overcome challenges and those with messages about belonging and community are all best for SAD.
By following along as characters display these traits, you can feel inspired, uplifted and connected. But even the simple act of having a fun show or movie to look forward to at the end of a wintery day can be a big help too, which is why some that are simply fun to watch are included in this list. So here are the shows and movies that were found to boost people’s moods.
1. Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Grace and Frankie show characters being their authentic selves while also overcoming challenges. This is a story of opposites attracting and discovering a deep friendship. It inspires hope and possibility, even in our darkest moments.
2. The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (Amazon Prime)
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel also inspires hope. And of course, it’s super funny. As the main character’s perfect life dismantles, she is challenged to reveal her true self. An inspiring message which shows you’re enough just as you are.
3. About A Boy (Netflix)
Another one that ticks all boxes is the film About A Boy. It’s the story of a person who transforms his own life through acts of kindness for a boy struggling to cope and searching for a safe-haven. Our relationships with others affect our relationship with ourselves – this movie serves as a great reminder of that.
4. Friends (Netflix)
Friends is a brilliant show to watch if you’re struggling with SAD symptoms, for a variety of reasons. This diverse group of people demonstrate the value of relationships. They support and comfort one another through life’s challenges. Plus, it’s hilarious.
5. Legally Blonde (Amazon Prime)
Legally Blonde is not only a fun and light-hearted movie to watch when you’re down, but it’s also surprisingly inspiring. Despite a life of privilege, Elle Woods experiences and overcomes a lack of meaning, because she isn’t seen for who she truly is. Never judge a book by it’s cover.
6. Sex Education (Netflix)
Funny, uplifting and inspiring, Sex Education is a depiction of the messiness that is life, in the form of a great series. It demonstrates our capacity for heartfelt empathy in moments of vulnerability.
7. Love and Other Drugs (Amazon Prime)
This movie shows the importance of being authentic and vulnerable. And who couldn’t use a little reminder like that?
8. The Good Place (Netflix)
This show is funny, and is an entertaining example of reflecting on our relationship with ourselves. A group of different characters who are considered outsiders and misfits, join together to make themselves better people.
9. Pitch Perfect (Amazon Prime)
As if a snazzy acapella group wouldn’t lift your mood all on its own, Pitch Perfect also checks other boxes, as it shows people conquering challenges, sticking together, being true to themselves, and ultimately belonging.
10. Queer Eye (Netflix)
Queer Eye is a lot of fun. But is also a big-hearted approach towards those who feel low in confidence and lost. It demonstrates that we all live more productively when we feel valued and seen, and deserving of spending time on ourselves. If you need a reminder or that, give this a watch.
11. The Big Bang Theory (Netflix)
If you’re looking for a light-hearted show to boost your mood, The Big Bang Theory is a good choice. Being about a group of talented outsiders struggling to fit in, it can be relatable and even inspiring if you’re feeling isolated.
Because the shows and movies are funny, inspiring and show characters overcoming obstacles, watching them can be quite uplifting if you’re feeling down. While they won’t cure SAD alone, include them as part of your daily or weekly routine as a comforting and fun way to get through the winter.