Binge-watching your favorite shows may actually be good for your mental health, study finds

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  • A study has found that watching TV shows and reading books may be good for your mental health during the lockdown
  • These guilty pleasures fulfill the crucial need for support systems
  • Another psychologist reminded that while people enjoy these non-traditional ways of socializing, there is still no substitute to connecting with your loved ones

Have you been feeling guilty for spending too much time binge-watching TV shows and series on Netflix or indulging yourself in your pile of unread books during the lockdown?

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A study has found that these non-traditional social strategies can be good for your mental health now that physical distancing is being practiced and you cannot see some your friends and family members yet.

University of Buffalo professor Dr. Shira Gabriel, who co-wrote the study, said your “guilty pleasures” can help fulfill your critical social need for support systems.

“Our brains are not wired to differentiate between real relationships and the kind of connections we feel to the social worlds presented in books and TV shows. Now is the time to take advantage of that. Don’t feel guilty about re-watching your favorite show or bingeing a new one. It may actually be good for you,” Gabriel told Healthline.

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Le Moyne College professor Dr. Krystine Batcho, meanwhile, said that non-traditional ways of being social like watching shows and reading books are not long-term substitute for the traditional ones like connecting with family, friends, and partner.

“While we need to socially distance, watching our favorite shows, reading books, and listening to our favorite music can keep us feeling anchored in the life that’s been temporarily suspended,” Batcho told Healthline.

“By reminding us that our life goes on, remaining engaged in familiar activities reminds us also that so do our relationships. Just as we can still watch our favorite show or listen to our favorite music, we can count on our friends and relatives to be there for us, even at a distance for now.”

Now that’s a huge comfort!