When you truly want to chill out, do you find the latest Netflix show or do you enjoy rewatching your favorites? If you said the latter, you might be interested in a study that says it might be good for you.
Rewatching favorite shows can improve mental health
Studies have shown (and there’s one cited at the bottom for proof) that rewatching your favorite TV shows could help improve your mental health. It turns out the warm feelings of nostalgia we experience from reruns can actually help reduce stress and anxiety. So maybe it’s time to turn on some Lassie, The Munsters, The Jetsons…you get the picture.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. It can transport us back to the past. It also evokes fond memories of a time when things seemed simpler and more comfortable. This emotional response has been recognized as an effective coping mechanism against stress and anxiety.
If you’re struggling to deal with the pressures of everyday life, nostalgia can provide a reminder of the good times.
The comforting nostalgia of rewatching your favorites
One reason old reruns are so effective in reducing stress is the sense of familiarity they offer. When we watch a show we’ve seen before, we know what to expect and can anticipate the storyline. This predictability creates a safe and controlled environment that allows us to relax without any surprises or challenges.
One study even showed that when participants viewed familiar television programs, their levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) decreased significantly.
Our connection to familiar characters is also important to the soothing power of TV nostalgia. Over time, we form attachments to the people we see on screen. We may even feel as if we know them personally. These bonds can provide us with a sense of companionship, which is especially important when we’re feeling lonely or isolated.
When we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, it’s good to find healthy ways to manage the feelings. By providing a comforting escape from reality, old reruns can help us unwind and decompress.
It can even have a meditative effect. The familiarity of the show means we don’t have to pay as much attention. This can help clear our minds, allowing us to focus on the present moment and let go of the worries and concerns that have been troubling us.
So, next time you want to practice self-care without leaving the couch, turn on some reruns of your favorite old show.
Source: “The Temporal and Focal Dynamics of Volitional Reconsumption: A Phenomenological Investigation of Repeated Hedonic Experiences” — Journal of Consumer Research