“Feel-good” content often implies a picture of a cute shiba inu staring at you from the cozy inseams of a Buzzfeed article, usually doe-eyed, usually the color of buttered toast. A feel good story, on the other hand: that’s something surprisingly personal. You’ve got a whole world of content that can distract you from failing statistics and all your other existential miseries here at The College of Wooster, after all!
As medications vary for different illnesses, feel-good narratives vary based on the relief you’re looking for. So, let’s move past the universality of the beloved shiba inu for a breakdown of different emotional cleansers on the proverbial narrative shelf:
1. God, I Just Need Something Familiar
This type of story is the feel-good equivalent of a six-year-old sticking their hand in a bucket of popcorn upon their first Harry Potter film experience. These stories stick around, unlike a treasured girlfriend or a professor’s faith in your ability. Consult Star Wars, any novel you actually enjoyed in your K-12 education, Pixar films or ABC Halloween films, the middle of April aside.
2. Almost Real-Life as the Opposite of Escapism
Sometimes, the pressures of building a fictional reality’s a painful task for the weary mind. If you can sympathize here, I recommend reality television: The Great British Bake-Off offers a wholesome competition for anyone faintly interested in decorous cakes and gentle contestants trying their best. Netflix documentaries and otherwise educational television will enlighten your perspective, without capturing a real-world that’s too close to home.
3. Angst Catharsis
If you’re drifting in the direction of this relief, you’re painfully aware of the world’s faults. Stories in this category reemphasize these feelings, reaching the point of a productive numbness. Whether it’s the pessimism of Bojack Horseman, the sarcastic darkness of the film Heathers or a chapter out of David Foster Wallace’s oeuvre, you can chuckle wickedly from the shadows of your dorm bed as self-aware writers represent all your misanthropy.
4. Scare It Away!
You know how people always try to spook you whenever you’re suffering from the hiccups? This category takes the same approach. Watch something that sends all your negative feelings off edge of your suspense: consider a novel by Shirley Jackson, the films Get Out and Let The Right One In, or an especially chilling episode of Black Mirror.
5. Funny, Hopeful, Or Anything Else: Choose One
You’ve read all these; you’re at a loss. In your worse-for-wear emotional state, you may suffer from apathy or indecision. Fair enough. ‘Choose’ an emotion you’d rather have. If that’s hope, try a Studio Ghibli film; if it’s amusement, an episode of Community or The I.T. Crowd’s worth your time. These emotions are only starting points — if you associate something generally “good” with any title, a path’s opening for you despite any initial melancholy. Best of luck, and always consult a health care professional if a longstanding wellness dilemma overtakes the power of a good narrative.