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  • Re-watching the same old episodes of your favorite show is good for your mental health

    At the end of a long stressful day, do you watch something new that you’ve never seen before or do you put on your favorite episode of an old classic? Many chose to de-stress by watching an old classic that they’ve seen dozens of, if not more, times before. The Office ended nearly a decade ago, and Friends aired it’s final episode nearly two decades ago. Yet, both television shows remain as popular as ever online. In a recent article for Time, journalist Anna Goldfarb wrote about how re-watching your favorite television shows is actually good for your mental health.

    Why do people love storytelling?

    Goldfarb interviewed Dr. Shira Gabriel, professor of psychology at University of Buffalo, about how TV shows can enhance people’s feelings of belonging. Dr. Gabriel noted that humans are social creatures and storytelling likely served the evolutionary purpose of bringing people together to form communities. People sharing the same stories over and over again has long been a normal part of the human experience. Dr. Gabriel also posited that as humans evolved there was likely no reason to develop a mechanism to distinguish between people known in life and people known only through stories. Therefore, fictional characters¬† can feel as if they are our real friends.

    Why does re-watching an old television show restore your energy?

    Making decisions, paying attention to daily tasks, and using self-control drains people of their energy. Goldfarb interviewed Dr. Jaye Derrick, a professor of psychology from Houston University. Dr. Derrick discussed her research showing that people feel re-energized after watching their favorite TV shows following a tedious writing assignment. People have a limited amount of daily energy. Re-watching a favorite show gives people a needed break from mental tasks.

    Re-watching your favorite television show can be an important part of your selfcare plan. However, it might not be enough. Contact us to find out how a mental health professional can help you.


    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of 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, El Segundo and all over California.