Here's Why Watching "Friends" Can Help Reduce Your Anxiety
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Here's Why Watching "Friends" Can Help Reduce Your Anxiety

A backed-by-health-professionals reason to finally binge out on your favorite show.

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Here's Why Watching "Friends" Can Help Reduce Your Anxiety
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Many Americans, especially parents, assume that time spent watching TV is precious time wasted.

Without watching TV, children and adults alike would presumably be out experiencing more social interactions rather than living vicariously through on-screen characters.

Although it is definitely unhealthy to watch season after season in one setting, watching one or two episodes a day can, contrary to popular belief, help decrease anxiety and improve an individual's mood.

According to news portal Asia One, Marc Hekster's research in clinical psychology has shown that watching sitcoms, such as "Friends", reduce the effects of anxiety.

The reasoning behind how the show helps fight anxiety is that the show can always "bring comfort and relief". All viewers of Friends would agree that they could count on a harmonious ending or favorable outcome. This type of repetition lessens fear and worry in daily life overall. After reading about Hekster and his work, I feel that watching "happy" TV shows will definitely soothe anxiety to some extent.

However, we know from experience that not all complex relationship will reconcile, and not all issues we face will be completely resolved. Therefore, the lives of characters on-screen are just examples of near perfection, but we can from time to time rely on them for emotional comfort.

United Kingdom's Metro provides a further elaboration on Hekster's research.

The article explores why Friends has been able to maintain a "constant audience" who watch the show on repeat, both intensely and as background noise. Friends itself dedicates an episode to this topic. In a particular episode, the main character Rachel watches a TV show and is thoroughly encapsulated in it, bringing out her child-like instincts. It even causes minor confusion in her transitioning between sitcom and reality. When the audience watches Rachel's positive and calming experience with the sitcom, the audience is able to draw a parallel between itself and Rachel. The audience, then, is more willing to believe that watching a TV show filled to the brim with complicated relationships will improve their emotions.

The key here is that when we think about watching TV shows, we are seeking an intriguing plot or something relatable. But what we rarely stop to think about is the emotional satisfaction that we are gaining.

When we sit, eyes plastered to every action and scene change on the screen, we are pacifying ourselves. Whether or not this is a positive thing depends on what you want to reap from watching TV shows.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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