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  • 5 tips for managing anxiety about too much television

    With the advent of streaming services, Must See TV is not limited to a few hours a night one night a week. Streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu each have a variety of award winning, or at least nominated, shows from a variety of genres one might not have even known existed. For some people, a plethora of movies and TV shows is exciting. For other people, it brings a sense of overwhelm and anxiety. People face questions such as “Did you finish Game of Thrones?” or “Have you heard of Killing Eve?” or “Have you started The Mandalorian yet? Why not? What about Baby Yoda?” In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, therapist Erin Qualey discussed five strategies she recommend for dealing with the anxiety that often comes along with too much great television. The five strategies are outlined below:

    1. Breathe. Qualey points out that we have all heard this recommendation. The reason breathing is recommended is because it is effective. Breathing slowly and deeply counteracts the fight or flight response and helps us to slow our heart rate and calm our minds.
    2. Practice acceptance. When we struggle with what we cannot change we feel anxious and focus on what we cannot control we feel anxious. Qualey notes that we need to accept that we simply cannot see all the great movies and TV shows that are available.
    3. Limit choices. Do more options make deciding what to watch easier or more difficult? Qualey suggested that the seemingly unlimited viewing options often lead people to delay making any choice. Instead of enjoying an entertaining show, people might actually sit weighing their options and feel unable to decide to watch. She suggested that each individual should decide how to limit their options before attempting to make a decision.
    4. Phone a friend. Developing a support system is always an important part of coping with anxiety. Qualey suggested enjoying a favorite show with a friend. Commit to weekly conversations centered on discussing themes and characters. This will serve to better enjoy the show as well as enhance friendships.
    5. Limit social media. Qualey suggested avoiding pressuring yourself into live tweeting during a show or posting the perfect Instagram photo related to your viewing experience. Just kick back and enjoy the show.

    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He works in the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and El Segundo.