Why binge-watching is good for your relationship

The ultimate relaxing moment in half the size of the Netherlands: crawling behind a curtain in the evening and binge-watching until we weigh ourselves. Do you make us happy.

You’ve started work, run some errands, have your meal, and maybe even put a baby or two to bed. Then the moment you’ve been waiting for has finally come. In your little clothes, you lie on the sofa with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and there your hand goes to the remote control or laptop. All the hustle and bustle of the day slips away as the world in front of you swallows you up. You devour croissants and men with Emilie in Paris, fight with June Handmaid’s Tales For your freedom and go out with Ingrid partner path Even the law firm’s top (and we’re freaking out there won’t be a second season). A deep bow to Netflix, Videoland, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime or just that Good age NPO. I needed this. By the way, even after a night out, just to clear your head before going to bed.

Millions of Dutch people spend their evenings this way. And many people like it. Let’s face it: You won’t hear many people say how good staring at a screen is for you. Well, British psychologist and researcher Claudia Hammond thinks otherwise. With a team of experts, I participated in the Comfort Test, a large-scale survey of the most comfortable activities of eighteen thousand people from 135 countries, which resulted in a top ten finish. She discusses the results in her book Peace. The psychology of relaxation and healing in the modern world. Reading number one, watching TV number nine. the reason? There are a few activities that require little physical and mental effort. Hammond calls it “in many ways even the perfect form of comfort”. In fact, you’d think TV viewership only ranked ninth because of that bad picture. In this busy society, we should actually celebrate every activity that allows us to finally relax.

A blurry state of stupidity
Well, until we spend hours behind the tube and in all sorts of fantasy worlds. Especially when the real world gives enough reason to want to escape from it, this great escape is the best thing about watching series and movies. The book was written by future researcher Jennique Schultens Toxicity About everything that makes us happy and sees watching a TV show, movie, or series as a solitary escape. “Just as you drink a glass of wine or take a shower at the end of a long day, we also settle for a binge: my time. finally. It’s like a stupor of numbness and relaxation for you alone: ​​shoulders down, head in a blur of stupidity, because you really don’t have to pay attention. Watching TV is the valve in your pressure cooker and it’s your head. Hammond also mentions studies that show that most people look to something to forget their problems. The more pressure they have, the more they appreciate the escape aspect of the screen. But according to Schultens, “stopping yourself” isn’t its only function. Some people specifically use serials to power themselves. Pain, terror, and anger are also sources of pleasure for many people. So it can also give an adrenaline rush to people who swear by scary scenes. When it’s over, your brain releases serotonin and dopamine to calm you down.

Or we shudder Dahmer Or laugh at the sarcasm of hunting monsters Wednesday In the series of the same name: for a moment we believe that what we see is real. Schultens: We call it that His will to suspend disbelief. We create a temporary void where we know what we’re seeing isn’t real, but during the hours we binge-watch, we allow that world to be real. Then we go out again, but this possibility to escape, to enter a world full of magic as in Harry Potter or force as in house of cards It’s great. If it wasn’t poisoning…”

Hours of binge watching are good for something else: to escape all kinds of painful feelings. Certainly not the best solution psychologically, but you have to deal with long waiting lists in mental health care. Plus, it gives lonely people a sense of companionship, according to Schultens. Many people turn on the TV as something to hold on to. It gives them the feeling of coming home. or an hour coffee time or friends See if they have the news in the background: They see the people on TV every day, they fill their living room with sounds and fun and you almost think you know them. Television brings a lonely person a sense of belonging, it is a social alternative. We empathize with the characters in the series, reflect upon ourselves and feel genuinely disappointed when the series ends. Suddenly you are no longer part of this world.

Party spoiler
Surprisingly, according to Hammond, the real binge-watchers are the elderly. Partly because in many nursing homes the television is on all day. Although, unfortunately for the elderly, it is not necessarily a pleasure or a luxury because sometimes it is their only distraction. And we can learn something from that — be party spoilers for a while. This means that watching TV — or any screen for that matter — is best done in moderation. Hammond concluded that more than five hours is harmful for most people. Those hours often generate little memories, making us feel like our lives are passing us by. Although described as a “mind-drug”, it goes a bit too far. For example, a recent study of American students showed that binge watching didn’t make them feel lethargic at all, but they engaged in the characters and still engaged in deep decisions about what they watched after watching. So they more than just “entertain” those hours behind the tube, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

In any case, “sitting is the new smoking” and so it may be necessary to regularly shout “get off that couch” to yourself or your spouse. However, it’s funny that the bad picture of watching TV also plays a role here. Because “Did you actually sit on the couch for five hours reading a good book?!” Nobody says that. Why, then, do many consider reading a good way to spend their time? Assistant Professor Cassie Holmes does just that in her book the time of your life toss. In her research on how best to spend your time, she has come to the conclusion that we enjoy the activities that give us the most pleasure and satisfaction. In other words: We often enjoy watching a series, but it’s rarely satisfying – except for those few series that are true works of cinematic art.

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Not that anyone needs it, but another reason to turn on that screen is because watching together is good for your relationship. Not only because a serious dose of Netflix & Chill can happen (maybe it just depends on how exciting the series is), because it’s also, according to Journal of Psychology It can make the butterflies in your stomach flutter nicely again. At least, if you choose a movie or series that “makes you laugh together, is moved or makes you cry.” This creates “biological synchronization” whereby “physiological reactions associated with emotions, such as changes in heart rate or breathing, become synchronized.” This seems to improve the relationship. Just like watching a series or movie together about love problems (Tip: Marriage Story) can save you a lot on therapy costs, according to the same article, because then you may be inspired to talk about it together. Many people also appreciate watching with someone other than a romantic partner.

You don’t have to make an effort and you don’t have to keep the conversation going, which makes this the perfect way to relax together for several people. In fact, Hammond cites a study that shows that even people enjoy watching TV in the company of others. And… those who indulge themselves often know how to find a Twitter or Whatsapp to air their unsolicited opinion somewhere.

But to be fair: it also makes us more antisocial. What about that?

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