After living with an autoimmune disease for 28 years, I’ve worked hard on cultivating what works best for me to remove any stress in my life.  I know it’s impossible to totally remove stress. Yet, I think it’s important we find something that takes our minds off our physical and emotional limitations.  

We deserve a break, don’t we? 

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I’d share my love/obsession with older movies.  I’ve always relied on them to help me feel a little lighter, and give me some peace of mind. At least for ninety minutes.

Here are a few of my favorites.  Have you seen them?

The Philadelphia Story (1940): This 1940 romantic comedy has an all-star cast of Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, and was directed by George Cukor.  It’s about a rich woman’s ex-husband showing up with a tabloid reporter the day before her second marriage.  You can’t help but fall in love with this story, while watching Hepburn’s character begin to look inwardly to take a hard look at herself. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards, you will fall in love with this film. 

His Girl Friday (1940): The king of screwball comedies, this fast talking Howard Hawks film stars Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Bellamy.  Grant once again play an ex-husband, but this time he wasn’t an ideal one.  His first priority was always as Editor of The Morning Post.  His ex-wife stops by with her fiancé to demand Grant stop bothering her, and the shenanigans begin. His Girl Friday is listed as number 19 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Years/100 Laughs.

My Favorite Year (1982): The late Peter O’Toole shows his comedic side in this comedy based on some real-life events that occurred during the early days of television.  Seen through the eyes of a young comedy writer, it focuses on one summer in 1954 when his idol, the famous yet washed- up Alan Swann, guest stars on The Cavalcade of Stars (based on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.) When Swann shows up drunk, a series of events leads up to the hilarious yet touching conclusion.  Mr. O’Toole plays comedy brilliantly, which, if you’re a fan of his work, is no surprise.  

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1940): This movie makes you proud to be an American. James Stewart stars in this political comedy-drama about how one man can make a difference through sheer integrity and strong moral values.  It’s a feel-good movie, with a strong supporting cast starting with the incomparable Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Thomas Mitchell and Edward Arnold.  The cinematography stunningly photographs Washington D.C. as its own character.  (This movie taught me what a filibuster was!) 

I could go on and on, but I think this is a good start.  So sit back, grab some popcorn, and get ready to be taken away.  I guarantee you will forget your troubles once the feature begins.  

Who knows?  Maybe a movie will help lower your blood pressure, increase your energy level and even put a smile on your face.   Ahh.

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Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, her award-winning blog voted best Multiple Sclerosis blog by WEGO Health and Healthline. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post for their Disability Travel/Impact/Post 50 sections, and blogs for MultipleSclerosis.net and Boomeon.com. Cathy was recently named one of the "Top 10 Social HealthMakers in Multiple Sclerosis" by Sharecare, a new platform created by Dr. Mehmet Oz. Her articles have appeared on numerous websites, including Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Women at Woodstock, The Friendship Circle, Midlife Boulevard and BetterAfter50.