Hello Sweet Friends:
Do you have a go-to comfort tv show(s) that you replay over and over again? Yea, me too!
But did you know why you keep revisiting that show?
Is it self-care? Maybe stress relief? Perhaps it’s a feeling of nostalgia?
How about all that and more? Your favourite cozy shows offer far more than hilarious, predictable plot lines. The benefits can be pretty darn powerful.
So hit pause (because we both know Netflix is on in the background) or tune out for just a moment. We’re about to dive into why rewatching old favourites is absolutely a valid and pretty darn wonderful form of self-care.
Ok, I Confess, I Didn’t Hit Pause
As we speak, Friends is streaming in the background. Ross is playing Celebrate Good Times horribly on the bag pipes and Phoebe is “singing” along (and no, she’s not singing the lyrics). If you’ve never seen this scene, watch it right now. I’ll wait. You need this laugh, trust me.
I felt inspired to revisit Phoebe, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Ross after the awesome Friends Reunion. Nostalgia at it’s finest! If I’m being honest, Reunion or not, I would have re-watched it eventually. Friends is one of my comfort shows.
Most of us have a comfort show! Or two, or seven…
Personally, I love to “Pivot!” with Friends. I regularly obsess over coffee with the Gilmore Girls (even though I hate coffee). I can imitate Alexis’ “Ew David” with a finesse that, in my opinion, is totally brag worthy (Schitt’s Creek). And when I need to feel uplifted, Doctor Tom from Being Erica is my bestie… comfort tv is just that, comforting.
And there’s a wonderful reason for that.
What Makes Your Comfort TV Shows So Special
1. A Perfect Moment of Nostalgia
Slow down, relax and enjoy the good stuff. And by that I obviously mean chocolate. Just kidding, it’s nostalgia time honey! Although, bust out some chocolate too. That’s just good living.
Your comfort tv shows are like a trip down memory lane. And the familiarity really helps you relax. But don’t just listen to me, let’s ask the actual professionals.
Dr. Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology at LeMoyne College and a licensed psychologist, has this to say about your comfort show habits:
“When people are stressed, or anxious, or feeling out of control, nostalgia helps calm them down. It’s comforting. It’s analogous to a hug from your mom or dad or being cuddled. It’s harkening back to what we might, even erroneously, perceive as a simpler time in our life with fewer responsibilities and obligations and fewer worries” (source)
It’s amazing how your favourite show can really take you back in time. Revive old memories. Revitalize long forgotten feelings. It’s nice to hit play and enjoy the memories.
2. Restore Your Energy
Hands up if you feel drained after a hard day. Are they up? Same. Ok, not really, because I’m typing… but they are in my imagination and that totally counts!
Enter comfort television baby!
It takes a lot of self-control to handle difficult customers, tight deadlines, tough conversations with loved ones… if you’ve had a particularly draining day, week or month, you might not want to invest in a new show. The plot is a mystery. You have no idea if you’ll even like it. And, hey, it might even be stressful when all you really want is comfort.
But you know what show(s) don’t take a lot of energy and will never veer into a surprisingly stressful direction? Your comfort show(s)!
According to Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, associate professor at West Virginia University with a focus in media psychology:
“There’s a lot of comfort in knowing when something’s going to happen. You don’t have to exert a lot of cognitive energy, so it doesn’t feel taxing.”
Why does that matter?
Dr. Jaye L Derrick, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Houston, found this in her 2013 Research Paper:
“Rewatching an old show doesn’t require any self-control because you know how it’s going to play out but you can still get all of the interest and feeling of connection from watching it.” (source)
Now that’s what I call having your cake and eating it too! Because a good show really is like your favourite snack. Familiar, sure, but energizing and enjoyable all the same.
3. Feel More Connected
You know when you excitedly sit down with a friend to watch a show you adore? One they’ve never seen before. And you sort of watch them for their reactions and laugh together as you vicariously re-experience things for the first time through them. Not to mention discussing (in great detail) all of the fun plot points? It can’t be just me! (Like really, it can’t! Right?!)
Oh the beautiful magic of bonding!
Even if you’re feeling lonely, comfort tv shows can give you a boost.
Dr. Batcho, who shared that our cozy shows remind us of simpler times, says that comfort shows “bring back memories and feelings of the friends you had back then and the fun times you had together.” (source)
The parasocial relationships you build with fictional characters can also provide a sense of connection. And there’s a comfort in watching those characters navigate stressful events that mirror your own life experience. And ultimately come out ok. Talk about reassuring! (source)
4. Create a Sense of Self-Security
Your fave chill shows offer far more than simple relaxation. While you’re traveling back in time through the feelings of nostalgia, you’re also revisiting who you were, how much you’ve grown and, ultimately, who you are now. Because, dang, you’ve come so far and you have tons and tons to be proud of.
If you’ve experienced trauma or loss, comfort shows can provide reassurance. Ultimately helping to replenish your sense of security, even if only for a while. (source)
You can even choose your show based on the emotions you want to provoke or process. Chandler’s comic relief, David’s neuroticism, Ted’s toxic yet somehow still uplifting quest for love in How I met your Mother… these plotlines may very well help you process feelings or evoke the emotions you want to feel.
And the one-sided bonds you form with characters can even play a role in the formation of your own identity. Your favourite stories, the ships you adore, the franchises you’re passionate about, they’re part of you. There’s a reason fan culture is so strong. (And a reason I’m in 4 different Sarah J Mass groups on Facebook… #DontJudgeMe). (source)
5. Boost Your Mood
No surprises, no energy demands, nostalgia, connection and self-security. That’s a beautiful, stress relieving blend, wouldn’t you agree?
Dr. Will Meyerhofer, a New York-based psychotherapist, calls a comfort show binge “an instant — and for the most part healthy — regression […]” (source)
And that, my sweet friend, is just plain good for the soul!
Our friend Dr. Jaye L Derrick agreed that there’s a definite emotional boost to be had:
“[…] just thinking about favourite TV shows was sufficient to make people feel better after a rejection event such as a fight or a period of loneliness. There is an association between favourite narratives and feeling better which doesn’t occur if we’re watching something new.” (source)
So hit replay gorgeous! And feel all of that goodness.
Yes, new shows are wonderful! And, when the mood is right, so incredibly fun and exciting to dive into (I’m looking at you Loki!) But there’s a reason you call your favourite series your comfort shows. No matter how many years go by, or how many times you revisit, they make you feel good.
So grab the snacks and hit replay gorgeous! Let’s get comfy!
What are your go-to comfort tv shows? Let’s build a cozy list together in the comments.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: It’s ok to seek comfort. You deserve to unplug and relax.
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