Minderful Roundup: Analysing Feel-Good Films And Crusading Against Perfectionism

What makes a feel-good film feel good? And why do we feel bad about feeling bad?

Anxiety is Penalty for Perfectionism

It’s not that people want to be anxious. The worry and unease usually come with certain days, jobs, problems, years, deadlines, and pandemics. A perfectionist often thinks of themselves as a winner, projecting a relaxed persona that’s in control of every single detail, while the truth behind it is usually the opposite. Nervous wrecks, not breezy winners.

According to a new study in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (our light lunchtime read), perfectionist thought patterns are one of the key factors that contribute to worsening symptoms of anxiety. People who describe themselves as such are usually overly self-critical and put relentless pressure on themselves. In spite of the calls to do away with perfectionism, many still look at it as a favourable trait. It’s also worth noting that perfectionism is not always associated with better results—it’s only the anxiety that’s guaranteed.

If you’re often too hard on yourself for making mistakes, don’t think that your hard work is ever good enough, or expect yourself to do better than everybody else, chances are, your anxiety is through the roof no matter how well you do. More and more scientists back affirmations, meditations, and books that help people get past this misguided quest for perfection—if you’re ready to give it up, start with this lovely article. Good luck.

Putting On a Happy Face Can Bring You Down

The age-old advice of turning your frown upside down to feel better is something most of us are familiar with. There’s some truth to it—smiling will release endorphins whether you like it or not, so completely abandoning the idea of doing anything to make yourself feel better isn’t what UC Berkley’s research is trying to do.

They’re addressing the pressure to feel upbeat at all cost.

“We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health,” said study senior author Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.

Over 1,000 participants answered questions around whether they thought they should be feeling the way they’re feeling, and researchers found that those who were more likely to push negative emotions away reported a higher percentage of mood disorders.

They theorise that accepting negative emotions can diffuse them and take away their power. An accepting attitude towards negative emotions doesn’t give them as much attention, which can give you the necessary space to naturally lighten up without the constant focus on your mood. So come on. Be grumpy.

The Scientific Comeback of Feel-Good Films

For the first time in history, feel-good films are being studied scientifically. Why? Because they make people feel good, and that’s often worth more than a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A new study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics examined what makes a feel-good film and came up with a few identifying characteristics to help us spot them in the wild.

The study showed that romantic comedies have the highest possibility of being classified as feel-good, especially since most romance narratives have story beats that are particularly satisfying to the viewer’s expectations. The archetypal journey with challenges that resonate with the viewers is important, but a key element is that the viewer can never feel like things won’t work out in the end for the heroes. That’s the charm of a feel-good film. It’s a comforting journey with assurances that heroes will prevail.

Most of the people asked about their favourites said that they like watching movies to lift their spirits and relax. As far as mental fitness habits go, a nice comfort film goes a long way and we’re happy to see that there’s finally interest in legitimising it as a form of looking after your mind.

The UK’s Wellbeing Prescriptions Are Getting Better

We’ve already written about Nottingham’s plans to prescribe paddleboarding as an aid to recovery, and now we’re happy to report that Manchester’s added fishing to their roster too. The Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust has partnered with a local fishing organisation, Tackling Minds to help patients with depression and anxiety. These new additions won’t be replacing any treatments, but they will be overseen by professional occupational therapists. The NHS hopes that within three years, they’ll be able to offer social activities to a million people across the UK—these will include painting, paddleboarding, fishing, and more.

The reception has been pretty good so far, and the first fishing groups had nothing but praises for the new collaboration. In nature, participants felt that it was easier to share their troubles and relax amid the banter and camaraderie.

We can’t wait to see more social activities popping up around us. The future of mental fitness in the UK is looking rather bright.

Pssst. Heard any good mental fitness tips lately? We’re listening. Head over to minderful.com and get in touch.

Do more for your mind.