What happens to your brain when you binge-watch a TV show simply because you can’t stop? Most of us binge-watched at least one or two shows. This is the perfect thing to do if you are sick or if you have a lazy weekend.
What is the latest TV show you binge-watched? Your friend might ask you: “Did you watch Game of Thrones or Peaky Blinders?” In the beginning, you are not really impressed with the idea of watching a lady with dragons or a show about gangs from the beginning of the 20th century, but you give it a go and then what happens? You can’t stop yourself? You might say: “One more,” and then one more… Before you know it, you spent hours in front of the TV.
Why do we engage in binge-watching? Is it dangerous to our brain? Are there any benefits of binge-watching?
Let’s start with the benefits. Yes, there are a few benefits of binge-watching. Binging can be a great stress-relieving activity. In a world where we have so many responsibilities, binge-watching can make us forget our troubles and the stress of everyday life. However, there are other more beneficial stress-free activities such as hiking or doing a sport. Another benefit of binge-watching is connecting with people who are also fans. If you are binge-watching a popular TV show, you might build a relationship with people with whom you don’t have many things in common, except love for a favorite TV show. You might turn acquaintances into friends and organize watching the next season at your apartment with people who are equally excited about the next season.
Additionally, according to psychologist Dr. Renee Carr binging has one unexpected benefit, it can be good for your job:
“Binge-watching can be healthy if your favorite character is also a virtual role model for you.”
Positive stories can inspire us or remind us about what matters in life.
Although there are some benefits of binge-watching, the number of psychological dangers of eight-hour sessions of binge-watching your favorite TV show will make you think twice if you want to watch “just one more episode” or not.
According to a study from the University of Toledo, binge-watchers are more likely to be depressed or to have a high level of anxiety when compared to those who don’t binge-watch. Binge-watching can make us aware of how alone and isolated we are. If we binge-watch often, we might start thinking about what are we doing with our life? Suddenly, we are not happy with the decisions we are making and if we don’t change, depression can kick in easily. If you can’t control yourself, you can always binge-watch with your friends to feel less isolated and alone.
Another important thing you should be aware of when binge-watching is a connection that you have with fictional people. This might seem odd at first, but when you think about it, you know exactly what we are talking about. You can develop a sense of connection with a fictional character and when those characters don’t live or go crazy (Game of Thrones fans will understand), you suddenly feel sad or disappointed. It can genuinely hurt you when TV show people decide to kill off your favorite character. Try to keep some perspective and try to detach from the characters of the show.
Last but not least, binge-watching takes a lot of your time. This might seem obvious but if you have ever spent a day binge-watching, you are familiar with the feeling of a wasted day or night. Plus, it can be exhausting to watch a TV show for the whole night or day, especially if you decide to binge-watch on a working day when you have to work tomorrow. Before you binge-watch, set a limit and stick with your decision.
In conclusion, it’s all about self-control and it is your decision about how much time of your life you want to spend in front of the TV.