An escapist cinema playing movies for stress

20 Best Movies to Watch if You Struggle With Anxiety - 2024

Stress and anxiety disorders are among the most concerning mental health issues in our modern age. So when you need a break, movies are a wonderful way to offer an escape from whatever you're dealing with.

If you're reading this, you're likely the main character on your own heroes journey to finding relief. If you are curious on some alternative way to help with anxiety outside of a temporary escape, I highly suggest you read my introduction to EFT, and if you want to dig even further, take a look at my free printable EFT worksheet

With that said, if you're not ready to do any of the "work" involved with healing from anxiety, I totally understand. It's valuable, but very hard, work and sometimes you just need to take a step back. In my own life, and especially when dealing with anxiety, I've often turned to movies...

Digital painting of inside a movie theater playing inspirational movies


I'm the first to tell you I love a reprieve for my poor over-thinking brain with a good ol' Academy Award winning film. I'll allow myself to be immersed in a world of adventure, romance & intrigue. It's like a mini-vacation for my brain - all without leaving the couch!

And sometimes, I find watching the journey of someone struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues to help me fully understand that these challenges are part of the human experience. This approach may not be for everyone - do what feels right for you in the moment!

So, whether you are looking for a bit of an escape, or interested in a moving tale that may just help you not feel as alone... I've got you covered.

Get cozy and comfortable, because here's a list of twenty of the best films for whatever mood you're in.

Claire watching a movie with her dog, wearing her Soul Spheres necklace

Here's me snuggled up with my pup for a good movie, wearing my gold Soul Sphere necklace 💛 

Movies That Will Leave You Inspired and Offer a Much Needed Mental Break

Amelie (2001)

This beautiful mental health film is about Amelie (played by Audrey Tautou), an innocent girl from Paris who overcomes her challenging childhood and brings hope and joy to people around her. Growing up, she was always deprived of love. Her mother passes away from suicide, and her father, a doctor, never shows affection or touches her except during her physicals. But she decides to create her own path with her unique sense of justice and discovers true love in her quest. It's a quirky and moving tale. I'd say it has the potential to be your go-to comfort movie.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American comedy film for anxiety relief that follows the adventures of Ferris Bueller, a high school student who decides to skip school and spend the day in downtown Chicago with his girlfriend Sloane and best friend Cameron. They get into all sorts of hilarious and outrageous situations, including stealing Cameron's father's prized Ferrari and crashing a parade.

The film is a classic of 1980s cinema and has become a beloved favorite among audiences of all ages. But more than just a lighthearted comedy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off also touches on themes of adolescence, individualism, and the importance of seizing the day.


Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo is a feel-good movie about a clownfish named Marlin who embarks on an epic journey across the ocean to find his son Nemo, who was captured by a scuba diver. Along the way, Marlin also meets a forgetful blue tang named Dory, who may just be the key to finding Nemo!

This movie is a must-watch for anyone who loves adventure with a healthy dose of humor and heart. Its story portrays how even the smallest fish can make a big difference in the world. If you decide to join Marlin and Dory on their quest, you won’t be disappointed. 


Dead Poets Society (1989)

Dead Poets Society is a classic inspirational movie that tells the story of a group of high school boys who are inspired by their unconventional English teacher, John Keating, to seize the day and live life to the fullest. Keating's unorthodox teaching encourages the boys to think for themselves and pursue their passions by going against the strict and traditional values of the school.

This film values individualism and creativity and encourages breaking free from societal norms and pursuing your dreams. Dead Poets Society will leave you feeling motivated and inspired. 

Just like the profound impact of this movie encourages individuals to break free from societal norms and pursue their dreams, Soul Spheres offers a unique way to embrace your individuality and creativity. Our exquisite collection of jewelry allows you to express your personality with elegance and style.

As you immerse yourself in the inspiration of this film, consider incorporating a tangible reminder of your journey with us. Explore our offerings and discover how our pieces resonate with the themes of individualism and creativity. Your unique story deserves to be celebrated, and we provide the perfect canvas. 


Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)

Under the Tuscan Sun is a heartwarming romantic comedy that takes you on a journey of self-discovery, love, and new beginnings. The story follows writer and critic, Frances Mayes (played by Diane Lane) who, after a painful divorce from her husband, is sent off by her best friends on a gay tour of Tuscany, thrusting her into a beautiful adventure. She falls in love with a rundown villa and buys it on a whim. In her journey, she finds a colorful cast of characters who help her heal from her past and embrace a new life full of possibilities.

With stunning scenery, heartwarming storytelling, and a charming love story, "Under the Tuscan Sun" is a movie that will leave you feeling inspired and hopeful. Maybe, like Frances, your greatest adventure will also begin after you step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith.


Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit is a dark comedy-drama set in Nazi Germany, telling the story of a young boy named Jojo, who has an imaginary friend in the form of Adolf Hitler. Jojo is a member of the Hitler Youth and is eager to prove his loyalty to the regime. However, his views are challenged when he comes into contact with a Jewish girl in their attic. It's a heartwarming coming-of-age story that teaches us about love, acceptance, and the power of kindness in the face of adversity.

Take a break from your daily hectic life and tune in to this well-crafted storytelling and generally an inspirational movie for all. This is one of those movies for stress that will make you laugh, cry, and think deeply about the world we live in. This film will stay with you long after the credits roll.


Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine is a heartwarming indie comedy about the dysfunctional Hoover family's road trip to get their daughter, Olive, to a beauty pageant. This movie is a delightful and emotional journey filled with laugh-out-loud moments and touching scenes that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.

What makes this movie fascinating is its relatable and complex characters, each with their own unique struggles and aspirations. From the sarcastic and cynical grandfather to the determined and supportive dad, every member of the family brings their own personality and quirks to the story. If you believe you are alone in your journey this movie will force you to rethink your assumptions.

Just like the diverse and relatable characters in Little Miss Sunshine, we understand the importance of individuality and unique stories expressed in the most unique ways possible. Our Nickel Alloy Soul Sphere Necklace for instance represents the beauty found in unique bonds and the celebration of one's distinctive journey.

The Bucket List (2007)

Everyone has a bucket list, don't they? Imagine how beautiful it would be to leave everything and set off on the road fulfilling everything you ever wanted. Whether it be bungee jumping off a cliff or enjoying the northern lights in Noway, this movie with a star-studded cast of Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson sets out to do just that.

Two terminally ill men coming from two different socio-economic backgrounds find themselves in the same hotel room by destiny. This spirals down into a light yet eventful journey as they strive to discover themselves and understand what they have achieved in life. The desire to check off things on their bucket list is what gives the movie its direction and keeps you glued to the screen till the end credits roll on.

Digital painting of inside a movie theater looking into another world

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Tim Robbins, playing Andy Dufresne, is sentenced to life imprisonment in Shawshank Prison for murdering his wife. There he discovers that prison is not a dead structure of walls holding back your freedom; rather, it's alive and evolving. Every year, the landscape changes with new friends and enemies. When everything seems doomed, a new entrant to the prison brings some secrets that turn the life of Andy Dufresne upside down and give him a shot at redemption.

Shawshank Redemption is an all-time classic. “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”


The King's Speech (2010)

"The King's Speech" is a historical drama film covering the story of King George VI (played by Colin Firth). The king has a speech impediment and struggles with public speaking. He eventually overcomes his stutter with the help of his speech therapist, Lionel Logue. He goes on to deliver a speech that inspires his people during World War II.

The film is something that you can watch in an escapist cinema, both emotionally powerful and visually stunning. Its historical accuracy adds to its authenticity. It shows that even the most difficult challenges can be overcome with determination, perseverance, and the help of the right people.


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Films About Other People's Struggles That May Just Help You Not Feel So Different

Inside Out (2015)

Although this film takes a close look at the different parts of our emotional being, it's certainly on the light-hearted side as a Disney Pixar release. Inside Out beautifully portrays the importance of managing your emotions and learning to work with them instead of shutting them down.

It is a movie about an eleven-year-old girl, Riley, who has moved to a new city with her parents and is being a usual eleven-year-old child. Her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and disgust—are in conflict about how to best navigate her new life, new school, and the city. Sounds like a lot for an eleven-year-old child, right? Well, it does.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

This film follows the journey of Charlie in his high school freshman year, struggling to fit in and find his place in the world. Charlie has both social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder due to his aunt’s death and the suicide of his best friend.

It's a powerful exploration of mental health as Charlie battles depression and PTSD from traumatic experiences in his past. It is the story of a regular boy with mental health issues learning to lead a happy life and realizing that he is not defined by his past. 


A Beautiful Mind (2001)

The movie A Beautiful Mind is a true story based on John Nash (played by Russell Crowe), a mathematical genius and prodigy. At the start of his career, John was on the brink of international recognition because of his groundbreaking work in economics. But soon he fell down from alter, succumbing to his mental illness and being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

The movie shows his journey of navigating life through his illness, with the support of his wife and later claiming the Nobel prize in economics. You can find this inspiring movie on Amazon Prime.


Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Girl, Interrupted is the story about Susanna Kaysen, who was sent to the mental institution, Claymore where she is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Following the story Susanna meets similar troubled women in the asylum who deeply impact her life.

The best thing about this film is its raw and honest representation of mental health disorders, the struggles, and the stigma around them in the 1960s United States. It is a powerful reminder that mental illness is not a choice. It's a great performance with a talented cast, including Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. 


It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

This movie covers critical psychological conditions, yet remarkably, it is able to maintain a light-hearted tone.

This movie is about a teenage boy, Craig, who checks into a psychiatric ward after he realizes he is suicidal. There, he meets both adults and young people. During his stay in the ward, he learns a valuable lesson that leaves a long-lasting change in his life and mindset. The film is a reminder that it's necessary to seek professional help and that recovery is possible, even when hope seems bleak.

Digital painting of inside a movie theater looking into a landscape painting

A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)

A Fantastic Fear of Everything is one of those comedy-horror movies you just can't forget. The movie follows Jack (played by Simon Pegg), a paranoid writer who becomes obsessed with researching Victorian serial killers. As Jack delves deeper into his research, his paranoia worsens, and he becomes convinced that he's being stalked by a killer. The movie is a humorous exploration of Jack's fears and anxieties and how they affect his personal and professional life.

The film's unique visuals and quirky sense of humor with animation, stop-motion, and other techniques create a surreal atmosphere reflecting Jack's frantic mental state. Overall, A Fantastic Fear of Everything is an entertaining and amusing film that provides a unique perspective on anxiety disorders and paranoia. 


As Good as it Gets (1997)

In this movie, the main character, Melvin Udall (played by Jack Nicholson), suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He doesn’t like anyone in his building and passes inappropriate jokes or insults towards the people he comes across in everyday life. The movie starts with Melvin taking care of his gay neighbor’s dog because he was assaulted and recovering.

The dog gives Melvin, a seemingly selfish writer, something other than himself to care about. Unlike a romantic comedy, the movie’s plot revolves around the unlikely relationship that develops between Melvin and Carol, a struggling single mother and waitress. It is a great movie if you are looking to have a good time but also want to enjoy a thought-provoking theme.


A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice is an anime film that revolves around Shoya Ishida and Shouko Nishimiya. Shouko Nishimiya is a little girl who was brutally bullied during grade school because of her hearing and speech difficulties. One of her tormentors was Shoya Ishida. Years after when Shoya finally encounters Shouko again he starts to take every action to make amends.

This story covers both sides of this nasty practice, bullying which not only affects the victim but also harms the inflicter. This movie has it all, an emotionally powerful story, redemption, forgiveness, empathy, stunning animations, and unique subplots.

In the same way Shoya Ishida seeks redemption and understanding, our Soul Sphere products invite you to reflect on your own narrative. Each piece is crafted with the intention to encapsulate the richness of your story—the struggles, the triumphs, and the unique subplots that make you who you are.

Silver Lining Playbook (2012)

Silver Lining Playbook is about a man named Pat Solitano (played by Bradley Cooper), who has been recently released from a mental health institution after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As Pat tries to rebuild his life and win back his estranged wife, he meets Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence), a young woman with her own set of problems such as mood disorders. As Pat and Tiffany's relationship deepens, they learn to trust each other and find a sense of joy and fulfillment that had been missing from their lives.

Overall, The Silver Linings Playbook is a love story that covers the struggles of mental health issues in a raw, undiluted manner but also captures the power of human connection, and the resilience of the human spirit. 


Forrest Gump (1994)

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." This iconic line from Forrest Gump perfectly encapsulates the charm and wisdom of this heartwarming movie. The film tells the story of Forrest (played by Tom Hanks), a simple man with a heart of gold. From running across America to fighting in the Vietnam War, Forrest's adventures are both hilarious and poignant.

Forrest Gump is a timeless classic that transcends generations and won Academy Awards for best actor and best picture in 1995.


There you have it. A list of movies that you can watch when you feel lonely or anxious or in dire need of a mental break. Watching movies is also a great way to connect with others, even if it's just virtually. Sharing your favorite films with friends and family can help you bond over a shared love of cinema, and who knows, maybe even lead to some lively discussions.

Just as sharing your favorite films strengthens your ties with others, our Soul Spheres offerings are designed to deepen your connection to yourself and those around you. Explore our collection now and discover how our products can become a unique part of your story. From movie nights to heartfelt conversations, let us be a reflection of the meaningful connections you cultivate in your life.

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Just a thought- please cross-reference with sites such as… many of these movies there are extremely anxiety-inducing scenes. These should at least be mentioned as caveats.
Soul Spheres replied:
Hey Brian! What a great resource! I will totally do that and cross reference for people’s information. Thank you for reading and for sharing that with me ❤️ wishing you the best on your journey.


I love art deco so I really liked the artwork on the piece. Liked the writing even more. Given this was a piece about movies and not art I feel the need to especially applaud the writing. And as with all things it’s important to remember that other’s opinions about you or your work are none of your business as they don’t know you enough to form an intelligent one. Cheers!
Soul Spheres replied:
Evan – thanks for the comment and I’m so glad you liked the post! My Grand-mother-in-law’s favorite saying was, “what you think of me is none of my business.” So I love the sentiment, thank you! Have a beautiful day! <3


The AI art used here really brought down the quality of the article, sad
Soul Spheres:
Hi E-

I’m sorry you feel that the AI art detracts from the post here!

As a one-woman show, I have limited time and resources and do love the interesting images AI can offer me to supplement my blog posts. And for this particular post I wasn’t totally clear on copyright issues with using the movie posters!

Anyways, I hope you got some value out of the movie suggestions at the very least <3

My best to you and your journey!


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