Binge Watching of series is a relatively new phenomenon. 10 years ago you could only buy your favorite series on DVD and watch it to your heart's content. Still, you always had to wait for the new season to be released on DVD before you could continue watching. Until the moment that Netflix put all seasons online at once, which ensured that binge-watching became more common. Where you would normally have had to wait months to find out who shot Agent Cooper, these days, if you have the stamina, you can watch an entire season of House of Cards in a day.
While this convenience satisfies our need for instant gratification, binge-watching not great for your mental health. In this blog, we'll explain why hours of watching television can make you feel depressed.
You sit too much
If you spend most of your day staring at the television indoors, you're not getting enough exercise. Your joints start to hurt and you feel sluggish. If you're looking intently at something, you may not even notice that you've barely moved in three hours. In addition, your body cannot lose its energy. You will probably have noticed; after a few hours of binge it's time for bed but once you're down you're wide awake. This does not promote your sleep and you get up tired the next day.
Real life is boring
A good series has a lot of tension and conflict. The hero gets into trouble and then gets out of it because he – it's usually him – is unusually brave, resourceful and skilled. Most importantly, he has a purpose. He has to do something that is both important and clearly explained. Real life is always dark by comparison. You can try to give it more color by doing fun things. For example with a vacation to Cape Verde. But most of the important things we do are pretty mundane. Cook dinner, go to work and help your child study for their exam. The stakes rarely seem very high and we are often not sure what to do. It feels like a turn off. There is also a biological component to it. The suspense and resolution in thrilling series gives us little hits of adrenaline and dopamine. Just like with drugs en alcohol it feels rather boring when we are dealing with normal levels of arousal.
We miss our fictional friends
We get used to people we see on television, are invested in their success and have problems with their failures. In addition, we know what difficulties they have endured and what they find most important. Our brains aren't very good at distinguishing fictional friends from real friends. That's why celebrities have so many weird encounters with fans. When the series ends, we miss these people like we miss real friends. We often miss them more because we understand their motivations better than our own friends. They are also often more attractive. When we lose our fictional friends, we feel a little sad. As with all things, television is best in moderation. It can be great to help you relax and laugh, but eating junk food for a day and watching every episode of something will naturally make you feel depressed.
The consequences of binge-watching
Square eyes from staring at the screen for hours, fatigue and drowsiness because you can't fall asleep at night and a life that seems a lot less spectacular compared to your favorite show. These are all symptoms that counteract good mental health. Binge watchers are more likely to suffer from feelings of loneliness and depression. Due to the personal connection that people often have with their favorite character, certain negative feelings can be reinforced. For example, watching a character under a lot of pressure can increase your own stress level. In addition, many people feel lost when their favorite show has ended. They then look for a new show and the cycle starts all over again.
Help with binge watching
Do you recognize yourself as a binge watcher? And do you need help? Here are a few tips that can help you counteract and even unlearn the negative effects of binge-watching:
- Limit binge-watching to the weekend
- Set a maximum number of episodes you can watch in advance
- Stop watching an hour before going to sleep
- Pause every now and then to move
- Drink water instead of something alcoholic
- Don't put too many snacks within reach
- Do not use your mobile device in bed
- Use an app to capture the blue light
Binge-watching is an addiction and can affect your daily life. Do you find yourself having problems with binge-watching? Then take contact contact us or check out the page about 'Our Addiction Care' for more information about our different treatment methods.