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Watching Disney Movies Can Reduce Anxiety and Improve the Quality of Life

When I experience moments of anxiety, I tend to resort to several ways that can help reduce the overwhelming stress I feel when anxious. I listen to my favorite albums, go on walks around my neighborhood, speak to my closest friend, play ball with my dog, and sometimes write in my journal. However, my number one go-to when experiencing overwhelming anxiety is taking a break, putting m

y daily tasks on pause, and watching Disney movies.

In Vienna, Austria, a cancer center found that both music and uplifting movies help reduce anxiety. From personal experience, I can assure you that the majority of Disney films combine the two components of both music and the message of hope. This is done through countless forms of art such as films like “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “The Jungle Book,” and “The Little Mermaid.”

A trial that was conducted for the length of an entire year where women with gynecologic cancers either chose to view Disney movies or not during six cycles of chemotherapy concluded that levels of fatigue, issues related to one’s quality of life, social functioning, and emotional functioning were drastically improved for women who chose to watch Disney movies during the six cycles of chemotherapy. A questionnaire was answered by the women before and after each cycle.

The movies that the team chose for the women to watch were “Cinderella,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “The Sword in the Stone,” Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Aristocats.” These films were produced between 1950 and 1989 and were chosen because the nostalgia attached to these movies deliver both joy and memories. The films selected all shared similar elements and structure: the main character experiences extremely difficult circumstances that are resolved happily by the end of the movie.

It was found that patients who watched the Disney movies reported to have felt significantly less tense and anxious than the patients who chose not to. The viewing of Disney movies was interlinked to the increase in family life and social activities, and less fatigue.

Of course, life does not equal a movie, and as we often have learned in life, not every ending is a happy one. However, for individuals experiencing pain and anxiety, the ability to hum a familiar tune while watching an enriching and hopeful movie often helps lighten the road ahead.

This blog post is in reference to the “Health in a Heartbeat” podcast.

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