Movies That Make Me Feel Better

I love movies. I’ll pretty much watch anything. My dad and I have seen so many horror movies, it’s hard to find one we haven’t seen. My mom and I watch Hallmark movies whenever I’m home. I talk about all the Marvel/DC movies with my brother. My roommates and I have watched countless movies on our couch after a stressful day. Watching a movie often puts me in a better mood. So, I’ve compiled a list of movies that I like to watch when I’m particularly stressed or anxious. Maybe watching them will put you in a better mood as well!

Enchanted

This is my favorite Disney movie of all time! It’s part animated, part live action that takes fairytale characters and places them in New York City. Amy Adams is incredible as Giselle, the naive princess who can sing a song and get street vermin to help clean up a downtown apartment. James Marsden is expertly cast as the dimwitted prince who comes to rescue her. Patrick Dempsey and Idina Menzel do a great job portraying people grounded in reality. The songs are great, the costumes are perfect, and it’s narrated by Julie Andrews so you know it has to be good. This will always put me in a better mood!

Matilda

I’ve seen this movie so many times I think I can quote the whole thing. I used to watch it every time I went to stay at my aunt Marla’s house. We would build a pallet on the floor with blankets and my brother and I would watch this movie. The idea that you could move things with your mind was magical when I was younger and still holds some magic today. You’re lying if you say you’ve never tried to tip over a glass with your mind after seeing this film. Miss Trunchbull occasionally gave me nightmares when I was younger, but I took comfort in knowing that she didn’t win in the end. It’s just a feel good movie that brings back a lot of fond childhood memories.

Bernie

This may seem like an odd pick, but my brother showed me this movie and then I showed it to everyone I could show for the next two weeks. Its a dark comedy about something that really happened, filmed in the town where it really happened. I refuse to spoil this movie, but the twist halfway through will make you gasp. They interview people in the movie who knew the actual Bernie and the personalities of the townsfolk are incredible. I think you will probably find this funnier if you’ve lived in a small, southern town, but anyone can enjoy this movie. In my opinion this is Jack Black’s best role. Unexpected and little known, but one of my favorites.

The Truman Show

I once watched this movie three times in one week and didn’t regret a single moment of it. The concept is so interesting. What if everything and everyone around you was fake and your whole life was being filmed? That’s insane. It is also a little scary that our world seems to be going closer and closer to that concept instead of farther away. Overall, I love this movie because it has heart. You are rooting for Truman to wake up and go live his life on his own terms. It makes you laugh and then makes you want to cry. It makes you think. Whoever came up with this idea was brilliant and if you haven’t seen this, you should! It’s a classic.

The Princess Diaries (Both of Them)

As is a theme on this list, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen these two movies. Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews couldn’t make a bad movie together if they tried. The whole idea that a girl could wake up one day and discover she is a princess is bananas. Everyone can relate to Mia; awkward, clumsy, unprepared for what life has to throw at her. Julie Andrews is the perfect royal figure, while still holding onto her playfulness (like their arcade game scene in the first movie, or her impeccable mattress-surfing skills in the second one). The first is a movie about finding yourself, while the second one is a love story. Both are excellent ways to put you in a better mood. Also, I’m super pumped for the third one that they’re working on right now. I’m sure I will watch that one a million times as well.

There are soooo many more movies I could put on this list. Honestly, I bet I could come up with 100. But these are just a few suggestions if you’re looking for something to watch on a rainy day. They can help take your mind off of the stresses of life. I’m always looking for new movies to watch so comment some down below that you watch to cheer yourself up!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel (:

Faith When You Don’t Have Control

My dad was a Methodist pastor and is now a chaplain in the army so I have always grown up in church. I watched Veggie Tales when I was little, joined youth group when I started middle school, and went to church almost every Sunday. It has always been a big part of my life. As I got older, I started to look at it as much more than just a routine. God is incredibly important in my life. While that remains true, it doesn’t mean that my faith journey has only been smooth sailing.

Over the past couple years in particular, I’ve had to wrestle with my faith. I mentioned in a previous post that my family seemed to be getting hit with one thing after another. A cousin in her thirties being diagnosed with ALS and my granddaddy declining in health; both of them recently passing away in a span of three months. My classes becoming more challenging and overwhelming. The realization that I’m only a little over a year away from graduating and the fact that I need to start looking towards the future. A lot of concepts that I have zero control over. During these events, my anxiety has only increased. All of this has been difficult. I often find myself knowing that God is the only one who can help me through this period, but resenting Him for letting everything hit me all at once. It’s a constant tug of war in my mind between relying on Him fully and questioning whether He is really working everything together for good.

I’ve been trying to work on prioritizing God like I should. I pray every day and read my Bible, looking to Him to make sense out of the chaotic nature of my life. I still find verses that I like and that help me when I’m feeling anxious. God is still incredibly important to me. I don’t doubt that He is with me. I know He is. But I also don’t think it’s wrong to question why things are the way that they are. If everything was going perfectly in my life, I would have no reason to dig deep and try and grow in my faith. Not having control is something that I struggle a lot with, but it helps me to think that there is someone who loves me who is in control. That doesn’t mean I have found all the answers I’m looking for. In fact, I’m not even close. But, it does mean that I can lean on Him when I feel myself spiraling out of control. He will be there to walk with me on my journey, wherever it may take me.

I thought I would share some of my favorite verses that I look to when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed by life:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” – Psalm 56:3

I would love to hear about your own journey with faith. What do you struggle with? What are some of your favorite verses? Let me know. Thanks for going on this journey with me!

Rachel (:

Apps for Your Emotional Toolbox

Over the last few years I have discovered several apps that have helped me with my anxiety. I found most of them on my own and others were shared with me by my therapist. Some are games that help calm me down and others provide tools to track my anxiety and improve my outlook. Below I give a run down of what each app offers. Bonus: They’re all free!

Fear Tools

This app is specifically designed for people with anxiety. This one was recommended to me by my therapist and has been beneficial for me. I use it for the “thought diary” feature. It allows you to write down exactly what is making you anxious and work through the thoughts in order to lessen the anxiety you’re feeling. There is also a breathing feature that you can follow along with to help you calm down. It’s a great way to keep track of the emotions you are feeling.

Smash Hit

This is a game that I started playing about two years ago. The goal is to get through as many stages as you can without running out of balls. There are various glass obstacles in your way that you smash by throwing balls at them. There are various things to hit along the way to give you more balls. The reason I love this game so much is because it is so soothing. The graphics are great, the colors are muted, and the ability to smash things lets off some stress. If you like playing with the sound on, the music is low key as well. I play this game sometimes when I’m struggling to fall asleep. That should tell you how calming it is. This is the game I most highly recommend.

Happify

This app tailors their approach to you. There are games, meditations, and goals to work towards in order to reduce stress and overcome negative emotions. I’ve only been using this for a few days, but I really like it. It gives you tasks to complete everyday to increase your positive thoughts and emotions and lessen any negativity you are feeling. It also includes articles to read about mental health and forums to share with others who may be feeling some of the same things you are. This is the most well rounded app that I have found.

Kami 2

This game is one of my favorites mainly for the aesthetic. Like Smash Hit, the colors in this game are also subdued. The goal is to figure out how to make each level end with just one color on the screen. It’s a strategy puzzle game, which are some of my favorites, and it is also one that does a good job at calming me down. There is an origami feel to the end of each level that is also satisfying to watch. Visually relaxing.

What’s Up?

This is an app similar to Fear Tools with a couple of other features. There is information on mental health within the app, coping strategies, forums to talk to others, breathing control, helpful websites, and a diary to work through your emotions. The design is a little less crisp than some of the others, but the information is great. For a lot of these apps, you just have to figure out which style you like the best. I personally like Fear Tools a little better, but this app is still great!

Colorfy

This is basically an adult coloring book in app form and is a great way to unwind and take your mind off of all the stress you are feeling. There are all sorts of things to color: mandalas, animals, flowers, and various other drawings. There is a new feature that lets you draw your own pattern to color in. A great way to calm yourself down.

These are some apps that have helped me when I’m feeling particularly anxious. Try them out and let me know what you think! Also, let me know about the apps that you use! Thanks for reading!

Rachel (:

Holding Myself Back

I love to write. I have always loved coming up with characters and making a world come alive on the page. Reading and writing were two constants I could count on when the rest of my world went through changes. I could pick up a mystery novel and get lost in trying to solve the crime and not worry about the fact that we were about to move. I could write fiction or I could write down the things I was feeling that I didn’t, or couldn’t, say out loud. Writing is where I am most myself. So why have I been having so much trouble with it?

I constantly have thoughts running through my head. Mostly logical or necessary for the moment, but then my anxiety starts talking to me too. About a year and a half ago, I was in the middle of writing my first novel. It was a mystery/ dark comedy about two retired detectives getting called back to catch a serial killer they put away after he escapes from prison. I really liked the idea and I was progressing. I wasn’t writing as much as I would have liked because, as it turns out, college is a lot of work. I didn’t have the time to sit and write something that wasn’t for a grade. That was my first excuse for not writing. I was busy. But it was just that: an excuse. It wasn’t the real issue.

I didn’t fully realize the reasons I was struggling so much until I talked to my therapist about it. Around the time I started having trouble writing, I found out that a cousin I was close to was diagnosed with ALS. At the same time, my grandfather was declining in health. I was struggling with emotions relating to that news. Questioning why diseases without cures exist and realizing that some problems that feel giant really are trivial in the grand scheme of what life can throw at you. The more I tried to write my novel, the more unimportant it seemed. I was beginning to question what I wanted to do with the life that I had that could be cut short without notice. Writing a mystery novel didn’t feel like the goal I wanted to work toward anymore.

The things that I have been writing in the last year and a half are things that no one has seen. Poems, songs, journal entries, and stories all describing my anxieties, thoughts, and feelings as it started to feel like my family just kept getting hit with waves of bad news. Some of the things I have written are pieces that I’m the most proud of, but they are also the most vulnerable. They feel important, but every time I go to show someone, I can’t. I’m worried that they will look at me with pity or that they will know too much about me. I’m bad at being vulnerable. This blog is the start of me trying to work towards sharing the pieces I have written and will write that I feel hold importance. Step by step, I’m trying to walk outside of my comfort zone.

I know that anxiety and depression can hold us back. It seems to be their favorite thing to do. They make it hard to do things that others seem to do easily. But that just means that when we do accomplish something, it’s that much more rewarding. It is definitely something that you have to take a day at a time. I may not be close to where I want to be, but I’m closer than I was yesterday. That is something I try to tell myself and it helps, so maybe it can help you too. I’d love to hear about your experience with thoughts or feelings holding you back. Leave a comment below and share your story. Thanks for reading and continuing to grow this community.

Rachel (:

Pasted On Smiles Playlist

I love music. I don’t know how anyone ever lives without music. Sometimes I hear a song that calms me down when I start to feel overly anxious or has lyrics that describe exactly how I’m feeling. One of my favorite things to do is drive around with my friends with no destination, just listening to music. I love listening to music and playing music (I play the drums) whenever I can. Music often plays a big role in people’s lives so I decided to make a playlist of songs that have helped me when I’m feeling anxious and that have made me feel understood. Hopefully y’all relate to these songs as well! Let me know which ones are your favorites in the comments below and feel free to share some of your favorite songs as well!

Rachel (:

My Anxiety Journey

I have always been a worrier. That has been true since I was small. However, my struggles with anxiety didn’t fully begin until seventh grade. My dad is a chaplain in the army, which means that growing up we moved every two or three years. I was constantly considered the “new kid.” The summer before my seventh grade year we moved to Severna Park, Maryland. What made this move slightly different is that we would be living off-post, which meant I would be going to a school populated with kids who had known each other since they were two. That in itself was scary for an introvert like me. And then the car crash happened.

My mom, my older brother, and I were driving to meet my dad on post for a Family Fun Day. I was in the passenger seat. We were turning left to go into the guard gate. I still don’t fully remember the impact. The other car slammed into the front of our car on the passenger’s side. It’s lucky we didn’t turn a little faster, because it could have hit the passenger seat directly. Our car was totaled. I remember crying almost immediately and turning around to make sure everyone in the car was okay. I remember struggling to undo my seatbelt. I don’t even remember getting out of the car. I just remember my brother hugging me while I cried as we waited for the police to ask all of their questions. I was sore the next day. I was also terrified to be away from my mom. For the rest of my seventh grade year I had intense separation anxiety. I would throw up almost every day before school. I would cry and ask to stay home. I was afraid that my mom would get in another car accident. I talked to a counselor, but I honestly have very little recollection. I ended up calling my mom from school everyday to make sure she was okay. By the end of my seventh grade year, I had finally been able to make it through a day without checking in, but the tightness in my chest that I felt with my anxiety lingered.

In the next few years my anxiety was better. I still used an imaginary brake when I was riding in a car and occasionally felt my chest tighten when I was away from my mom, but I was able to function. When junior year of high school came around, I was living in Harker Heights, Texas. Something I haven’t mentioned is that I have had a headache all day, everyday since the eighth grade. I have been to see countless doctors and have gotten all sorts of test, but no one has been able to find an exact cause. It was bad in the beginning and then over time medicine began to help and I was down to a 3 or a 4 on the 1-10 pain scale every day. That is until two weeks into my junior year. Suddenly my headaches flared up again and I was at a 7 or 8 every day. It got so bad that I was put on homebound status because I couldn’t read more than a page at a time before the pain got to be too much. During that time my anxiety came back, but in a different form. It was no longer separation anxiety. My anxiety became more about control or the lack of it. I suddenly was unsure of what the rest of my life was going to be like. Would my headaches get better again or was this the new normal? Would I be able to go to college? Thoughts like that swirled around in my head constantly. I started to control little things to make myself feel better. Even though my headaches became manageable again, the feeling of needing to control things persisted. For example, I can’t go to sleep if I haven’t taken a shower right before I get into bed. I have an entire bedtime routine that can’t be deviated from or I feel too anxious to fall asleep. This is an ongoing struggle for me.

One other way I feel anxiety is in social situations. I once read an article about what people with social anxiety think about and I related to 9/10 of those things. I think this anxiety came with the constant moving that happened growing up. I was constantly making friends and then having to say goodbye. I was constantly trying to figure out who acted like they wanted to be my friend. In some places, I struggled to make friends which increased my already present self consciousness. Even now, when I have an amazing group of friends, my anxiety will try and point out that they don’t really like me or that they are just tolerating me until after college when we all go our separate ways. Being tolerated and not actually liked is something my anxiety likes to focus on. I don’t have strong friendships with people from other places where I have lived. We grew apart when I left, until eventually we faded into memories. My anxiety likes to make me think these friendships will be the same. Even though I know logically that these things aren’t true, my anxiety can be very convincing.

This is only a condensed version of my anxiety journey. I could go into even more detail, but that post would be insanely long. I’ll save the long stories for my therapist. Side note: therapy is great. It really helps to have someone to work through all of these anxious thoughts with. Another thing that helps me deal with my anxiety is my faith. God says to cast our anxieties on Him and I try my best to do so. It doesn’t make it all go away, but it certainly gives me more peace to know that God is there for me. When I was tasked with creating a website, I decided I wanted to create a community where people could really talk about their struggles and be understood by those going through similar circumstances. I know it always feels like a relief when I meet someone else with anxiety who understands the feeling. Often that feeling is masked by a smile that tells the rest of the world that everything is fine. That’s where the name for this site came to be. I want this to be a place where you can be real and accepted. I’d love to hear from all of you, so comment below and tell me about your own journeys! Also, feel free to follow me on social media and continue conversations on those platforms! All the links can be found under the social media tab on the menu. I can’t wait to continue this adventure with you.

Rachel (: