Revealed: The Science Of Why Movies Help Self Esteem

self esteem for kids

Low self esteem  is a common issue in this day and age.

We are all made to believe that we should be intelligent, beautiful, popular, perfect. It’s a painful lie brought about by the day and age in which we live; a day full of celebrities, billionaires on TV, “Reality” TV shows that are in truth nothing like reality, glam and glitz that don’t exist… let’s face it; it’s bullshit. And it’s bullshit that affects us all.  Amongst the illusions of perfect lives it’s a wonder any of us know what the truth is. And yet there is one piece of truth I like to believe we do all know. That piece of truth is that we should be true to ourselves and that we should love ourselves. At times, we forget this truth. Some of us forget for much of our lives. Yet this truth glimmers out of the oil of life eternally and is always there then you look. It is never too late to take hold of this truth and remember that we are beautiful and that we should feel good about who we truly are, not who we are told to be. And that’s what self esteem is all about, is it not? It’s about believing and loving the true you through all the pressure and doubt of the modern day.

Yes, you are a beautiful person.

You are unique. You are the only you there shall ever be, and, whether you believe in god, nature, destiny or whatever else, the fact of the matter is that you were put on this earth for a reason and that you will be happy when you find this reason, when you believe in this reason, and when each day of your life is fuelled by the fire of love for your true inner self. So, how do we reconnect with our inner truth and learn to love our true selves?  (Article continues. . . ) 



How To Improve Self Esteem

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There are a number of ways. In fact, there are hundreds of ways. From affirmations to meditation to exercise to shopping therapy to art therapy, there are as many ways to build self esteem as there are to destroy it.

On this site you will find many different techniques (take a look at these Activities To Boost Your Self Esteem. But today I would like to discuss with you one of the more fun and light hearted ways to cure low self esteem,  and that is through a therapy known as the movies.

Recently, I had a surprise revelation about movies that had never occurred to me in my many years of acting, writing or studying self improvement and self help. That revelation is the fact that the construction of a story is very similar to the construction of a thought habit. I shall briefly explain both here.
A mental habit is a process of thoughts that result in an action. For instance, imagine you are going to go out for a drive. When you think about this scenario, your mind will create a series of what I shall call “acts” that lead up to you driving a car. For instance, as I am sat here upstairs on my laptop, if I think about driving, the following acts occur to me: Going downstairs, Collecting the keys, Turning the key in the ignition. Or, to give another example, if I think of going for a run, I get the following acts: Putting shoes on, opening door, running. Just go ahead and think about doing an activity and notice the different acts that occur to your mind.

Movies = Mental Habits

Now, compare this idea of acts to a movie. Let’s take Star Wars as an example. Star Wars is written in 3 acts. Act 1: Luke leaves Tattoine. Act 2: They flee the deathstar with Leia. Act 3: They blow up the Deathstar.

The structure of storytelling is very similar to the structure of habitual thought. Each involves a few logical transitional steps that lead to a conclusion.

This is potentially great news as it means that by watching movies we are essentially building thought processes in our own minds. Just as our negative feelings about ourselves are thought processes, so are movies. To test this, remember your favorite movies. When you do this, you are likely to see the “acts” that lead up to the conclusion. Now think about a personal objective in your life and notice the similarities in these two thought processes.

Because our negative thoughts about ourselves are also habitual thought processes, they are ripe to be addressed and corrected by watching movies that build positive thought processes. For instance, Star Wars, as discussed above, is a great movie for building a positive thought pattern.


One perfect example of this is the video on the left. In this sequence Luke finds his true inner power when he fights Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, then refuses to fight Emperor Palpatine. It’s only when he stops fighting (at 5 minutes in on this video) and says “I am a Jedi like my father before me, that he  truly finds his inner strength.

If we assume that we are living in the shoes of Luke Skywalker when we watch Star Wars, then this is the journey we go through:

 1) We follow our hearts (we leave Tattoine (home))

2) We learn about our inner strength (that we are able to control The Force)

3) As the person we were meant to be, we save the day and become a hero (blow up the deathstar and save the princess).

So, this patter becomes: Self discovery; Self realisation ; Success. And this is just one example of a movie building a positive thought sequence. The more positive thought sequences we build, the more positive we shall be. Hence, if we regularly watch movies that provide a logical thought pattern of confidence building, we will train our minds to build positive thought patterns and in doing so we will  gradually build our self esteem.



 The Proof


Of course, the idea that simply watching the right kind of movies can help your self esteem seems improbable, right? We are used to thinking that any sort of mental health problem must be addressed by a doctor.

This is relatively new thinking. Centuries ago people believed that comedies could be used to cure people (there are many proven health benefits of laughter). But since then we’ve all been told that we need to swallow pills or seek therapy to cure ourselves. Sadly, the health industry makes billions out of making us believe that there are no simple ways to help ourselves. But there are.

The proof that movies can be used for therapy was provided a few years ago by Ryan Niemec and Danny Wedding, two positive psychologists who wrote an entire book on using movies for mental health. The book is called Positive Psychology at the Movies. It’s a truly amazing book that changed the way I think about movies and entertainment in general.

For more information on this amazing book, click the image on the left.

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