4 Lessons About Mental Health We Can Learn From Star Wars

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


Star Wars. Perhaps the most well-loved movie franchise of all time, a movie that generations have watched with their children and continue to watch throughout their lives. On a personal level, I can’t even begin to quantify the impact this series has had on my life in both good times and bad. It’s brought me comfort during some of my darkest moments, and some of my favorite memories with my loved ones involve watching Star Wars, reenacting Star Wars, playing Star Wars Attacktix with my cousins, and even reading Star Wars spinoff novels.

Now, as someone who has struggled with severe anxiety and depression for much of my adult life, Star Wars has played an integral part in improving my mental health, and not just by finding comfort in it’s familiar scenes. I’ve found many lessons within its scenes that have helped me learn how to effectively cope with my mental illness and leave a functional and happy life. So without further ado, here are my top 4 mental health lessons taken from Star Wars.

  • You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting -Shmi Skywalker, Phantom Menace

To some degree we have all experienced stress and worry because of change. For those of us that have anxiety  or deal with high levels of stress regularly, much of it is based on worry that today’s choices will poorly affect the future, or change things from a comfortable normal. But, as Shmi says here and, like Yoda says in the Attack of the Clones, “Impossible to see the future is”, and because of this, it’s important to do our best to focus on the present and the impacts you can have here rather than dwelling on “what ifs” as is so easy to do. If you’re struggling to be able to remain grounded in the present, you can find a few ways to relax  here.

  • Already know you that which you need. -Yoda, Return of the Jedi

Many times, when I am feeling depressed, anxious, or even plain stressed, I worry about how to improve my state of mind. The truth is, most of the time I know what I need to do, but I second guess myself or don’t like the answer. Similar to in the scene where Luke struggles to lift the X-wing out of the swamps of Degobah, I won’t succeed in getting what I need if I don’t believe that I can do so or don’t listen to myself.

  • Many of the truths we cling to depend on our point of view -Obi-Wan Kenobi, Return of the Jedi

There have been many times for me (as I’m sure there have been for many of you) that I have been so focused on the way someone hurt me or the way I was wronged that I totally miss the part where the reason it happened was actually a positive one. Or in some cases, the reason it happened was entirely my fault and I did something hurtful too. By being open to seeing things through other points of view, I’m able to improve myself, accomplish my goals, and stabilize my mental health better.

  • Your focus determines your reality -Qui Gon Jinn, Phantom Menace

And of course, this quote from Qui Gon Jinn, probably my favorite quote in the entire series. This quote in particular has had profound affect on my life. When I’m feeling anxious or depressed, I often find myself focusing on the negativity in my life, and especially, ways that I am not where I need to be.

As an example, recently I had a particularly stressful situation that lasted for two weeks. I couldn’t remember a time that my anxiety had been so high in years. But, at the same time, I knew that a few years prior I wouldn’t have been able to continue to function at a high level under so much stress. Instead of focusing on how difficult the situation was, I focused on how proud I was that I was doing so well and was able to continue that trend further and improve my situation because of it.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Just as each Jedi needs training and tools to succeed, so do we all. Give us a call today to improve your skills in your fight against mental illness at 844-692-4100.

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