I am a big believer in CinemaTherapy.
If I’ve had a tough day at work, or a tough day in general, there is nothing I would rather do than drive straight to the local theater and spend the next two hours in the dark, shared solitude of the local cineplex.
And so that’s what I do.
Seeing a movie in the theatre is almost magical for removing yourself from those stressors you just can’t shake. Something about the sensory deprivation of the dark room, the unavailability of your life, the inability to control the timeline . . . all of these add up to completely making you forget the outside world.
It’s completely different from watching a movie on DVD. First of all, not being in your own home removes a lot of temptation – and not always good temptation. Watching DVDs at home for me often means multi-tasking: reading my junk mail, painting my nails, folding clothes, surfing the Internet, etc. I lose the total focus that the cinema provides. With DVDs at home, too, there’s always the ability to pause or rewind, which removes some of the urgency of paying attention the first time. And, oftentimes, if I’m watching at home, I’m watching something from my (rather extensive) collection. Another reason that I can juggle four or more streams of thought at the same time.
The freshness of the plot, the inability to deal with other things, and the relentless forward movement are such a great way to decompress.
For quiet reflection, I also love reading. However, even that pursuit cannot compete – with books, I can always let my mind trail off (as often happens when stressed) and end up reading the same paragraph several times, or find myself a page or two forward without understanding how I got there, having to reread things I should have already processed . . . had I truly been paying attention.
I know there’s still a bit of a weird stigma about doing things alone in public – dining out, seeing movies, etc. – but, honestly, it’s really good for the soul. It’s calming and refreshing. If you haven’t already, give it a try sometime! It may just be the smoothing your rumpled nerves have been asking for.