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Movies provide opportunities to explore landscapes of human emotion and relationships. Animated children’s movies are no exception. Like classic fairy-tales, the stories that last do so because they resonate for the child at an unconscious level, offering universal truths about life. Frozen 2 provides its audience with lessons about following your instincts, trusting yourself, fulfilling your longings, relying on those you love, facing change, stepping into your power, and going on, no matter what.

I could absolutely write a post about each and every song in this lovely, powerful, important story. My decision to write about “The Next Right Thing” is it is a key life lesson, and one many have not sufficiently learned. Dori from Finding Nemo also tried to teach us to “just keep swimming”. But in Frozen we hear this message from someone in active grieving, in heaviness and gravitas.

The lyrics offer us a lesson, but for me it was made more powerful knowing that its singer, Kristen Bell, is intimately familiar with struggling with your own mind. She has been open and outspoken about her own difficulties with mental health, including Depression and Anxiety.

The character of Anna does not have Clinical Depression or Anxiety. In her case, she is faced with debilitating grief that threatens to paralyze her. But being overcome with immobilizing levels of fear, hopelessness, and overwhelmedness has many origins. Depression and anxiety can be crippling. Loss, grief and mourning can render us despondent. The daily challenges of life itself can leave us feeling unable to function.

In a world that feels increasingly burdensome, going on is no easy task. Millennials refer to the daily challenge of functioning as “adulting”. The word has taken hard criticism by everyone who isn’t a millennial arguing that it is infantilizing of women and over-inflates the tasks associated with daily life. What the criticism doesn’t seem to metabolize is the undue burdens this generation shoulders. Our failure to understand why they experience life often overwhelmingly difficult does not make it untrue.

Certainly there is no easy answer to any of these conditions, and no song that can fix hopelessness and dread. But of all the absurd things people tell the grieving, depressed or overwhelmed person, “do the next right thing” is a gem. It is indeed the only doable thing. And it helps build a small reserve, and open the space, to do the next right thing after that.


Lyrics for The Next Right Thing (or listen here)

I’ve seen dark before

But not like this

This is cold

This is empty

This is numb

The life I knew is over

The lights are out

Hello, darkness

I’m ready to succumb


I follow you around

I always have

But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find

This grief has a gravity

It pulls me down

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

“You are lost, hope is gone

But you must go on

And do the next right thing”


Can there be a day beyond this night?

I don’t know anymore what is true

I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone

The only star that guided me was you

How to rise from the floor

When it’s not you I’m rising for?

Just do the next right thing

Take a step, step again

It is all that I can to do

The next right thing


I won’t look too far ahead

It’s too much for me to take

But break it down to this next breath

This next step

This next choice is one that I can make


So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing

And with the dawn, what comes then

When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again?

Then I’ll make the choice

To hear that voice

And do the next right thing


Smith is an analytically oriented psychotherapist with 25 years in practice. She is additionally the  Founder/Director of Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practice, which specializes in matching clients with seasoned clinicians in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

If you are interested in therapy and live in Philadelphia or the Greater Philadelphia Area, please let Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practicematch you with a skilled, experienced psychotherapist based on needs and issues as well as personality and style. Request an Appointment Today.

For more or related topics in blog and video blog, follow the links below:

Life Isnt Easy or Fair: Idealization Tortures Us Thinking It Should Be

Feeling Depressed Isnt Depression and Other Reasons Your Advice is Stupid

5 Reasons Suffering People Dont Want to Try Medication

Anxiety, Medications and Lost Decades


Contact us

Author Karen L. Smith MSS LCSW Karen is the founder and director of Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practice, which provides thoughtful matches for clients seeking therapists in the Philadelphia Area. She provides analytically oriented psychotherapy, and offers education for other therapists seeking to deepen and enriching their work with object relation concepts.

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