Movies to Fight Holiday Depression

November 30, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

As the holidays approach many of us face depression. It is very common, in fact. There are many reasons that contribute to this shared feeling of hopelessness and unhappiness. Maybe it is because the days are short and the light is limited. Or maybe it is because we are expected to be part of occasions we do not enjoy and do not want to be part of. Then there are the memories that make us sad. There are those we loved who are no longer with us but we wish they were. It is a time when our feelings are the most vulnerable and are most heightened.

Sometimes it is good to give our hearts and brains a break. Research actually shows that suspending reality for a couple of hours while watching a movie can help. It allows those suffering from depression to stop the negative loop of unhappy thoughts. The right kind of movies can also trigger the release of endorphins that can help us feel better. Movies are not a cure-all but they can be a positive tool for relief.

When you are in the mood to watch a movie over the holidays here is a list to get you started. The list, admittedly, is completely subjective. The selections consist of my favorite movies when I need a break, want to feel empowered, uplifted, hopeful and that deliver on happy endings. It is good to know movies can actually be good for our health. Please feel free to add your favorite depression-busters to the list.

Over Coming the Odds

Air Force One

A Town Like Alice

King’s Speech

The Blind Side

The Day After Tomorrow

The Rookie

Top Gun


Accomplishing Something Extraordinary

Apollo 13

Chariots of Fire

Fly Away Home

Forrest Gump



When You Just Need to Laugh

Adam’s Rib


Coming to America

Ferris Buellar’s Day Off

Mrs. Doubtfire

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Some Like it Hot

Something’s Gotta Give


Romantic Stories with Happy Endings

An Affair to Remember



First Knight


Sleepless in Seattle

Sound of Music

Sweet Home Alabama

The Princess Bride

The Holiday

When Harry Met Sally

While You Were Sleeping

You’ve Got Mail

Stories that Showcase Strong Women

A League of Their Own

Bridget Jones

Erin Brockovich

Ever After

Julie and Julia

Legally Blonde

Pretty Woman

Soul Surfer

Temple Grandin

Working Girl