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08th Feb 2022

Why re-watching the same TV show can actually be good for your health and wellbeing

Kat O'Connor

Whenever life feels a bit much we crave escapism and often turn to our favourite fictional worlds for that comfort.

Do you ever find yourself turning to the same show again and again? Netflix is full of gripping dramas, hilarious comedies, and original movies, but I somehow always end up watching Gilmore Girls no matter what’s on my to-watch list.

Sometimes there are just way too many options and the easiest thing to do is to rely on an old reliable to keep you entertained on a rainy evening. Sometimes it’s easier to watch something that doesn’t need your full attention.

There’s nothing I love quite as much as curling up with an episode of Gilmore Girls that I’ve already watched half a dozen times, especially when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. You know what to expect, what’s going to happen and in such uncertain times, that’s what you really need.

I instantly feel at ease the second Carole King starts singing the famous theme song Where You Lead. Gilmore Girls has been my go-to comfort show for years. The cozy, small-town charm helps me switch off regardless of what is happening in my world. I forget all my worries and delve into the world of Stars Hollow for a couple of hours and it’s such a reassurance.

Re-watching the same shows gives us back control. We know how we’ll feel after watching a certain movie or TV show like The Notebook will make us sob like a baby but Parks and Recreation always make us laugh therefore boosting our mood.

If like me, you’re always leaning on the one show then you’ll be delighted to know it is actually good for you. People have been re-watching their favourite shows throughout lockdown because it can actually help ease anxiety.

Have you been glued to Friends? Or old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy? Maybe you’ve been re-watching classics like Desperate Housewives or E.R? The TV shows you turn to in a time of crisis can offer you a safe place to escape to.

Whenever life feels a bit much we crave escapism and often turn to our favourite fictional worlds for that comfort.

Scientists have found that people experiencing anxiety tend to re-watch the same show because it helps ease the fear of uncertainty and the fear of the unknown so many carry with them.

Psychologist Pamela Rutledge explained that doing this gives the viewer more control, which is something we completely lost during the pandemic.

“It can become really therapeutic, especially if you are feeling anxious. Watching the same piece multiple times reaffirms that there’s order in the world and that it can create a sense of safety and comfort on a primal level,” she explains in Medium.

These shows also fill us with nostalgia, which can actually boost your mood and we’re all for it after months of feeling down in the dumps. The pandemic has had an impact on all of our mental health, but one thing that has been our saving grace is watching shows from our younger years.

Researchers explained that things that make you feel nostalgic can help boost your mood. Psychology Professor, Clay Routledge told National Geographic, “I believe many are turning to nostalgia, even if they do not consciously realize it, as a stabilizing force and a way to keep in mind what they cherish most.”

Over 50% of people found comfort in watching their favourite TV shows from the past helped get them through the pandemic.

“Generally, people find comfort in nostalgia during times of loss, anxiety, isolation, or uncertainty,” explained psychology professor Krystine Batcho.

If watching a couple of episodes of Gilmore Girls helps cheer me up after a year of isolation and stress then what’s the harm. Sure there is plenty of incredible series on Netflix, but sometimes all you need is the familiarity of an old show. It feels like reuniting with an old friend and isn’t that exactly what we need after the past year and a half?