Binge-watching: the act of watching several or all episodes of a television series with few, if any, breaks.
With the start of the pandemic, I think we have all been guilty of binge-watching a show. I know I have. ⠀⠀⠀
73% of Netflix viewers report feeling happy while they’re binge-watching. You feel this pleasure because your brain produces dopamine. This is the chemical that makes you feel good. It gives the body a natural, internal reward of pleasure that reinforces continued engagement in that activity.
However, those marathon sessions could pose risks to your mental and physical health. A growing body of research raises concerns about that binge-watching does to your health.
- Binge-watching may increase anxiety, depression and loneliness
- Binge-watching can disrupt sleep
- Binge-watching makes you less physically active ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, does this mean that you have to choose between your mental health and Vampire Diaries? Absolutely not. Netflix isn’t going anywhere, so this is an excellent opportunity to practice moderation.
Here are some tips on how to binge-watch responsibly:
- Set limits by allotting yourself a specific amount of viewing time and stick to it.
- Use your favorite show as a reward system.
- Be selective. Setting limits is easier if you’re choosy about the content. Try to pick programs that are meaningful and enriching.
- Exercise while watching or between episodes. Physical exercise releases endorphins which improve mood.
- Stress management. Do you binge to distract yourself from uncomfortable feelings? That is okay occasionally, but it helps to have other strategies too.
- Balance your binge with other activities. After binge watching, go out with friends or do something fun.
- Rohland L. Binge-watching. Salem Press Encyclopedia. 2020. Accessed February 9, 2021. http://search.ebscohost.com.scnmlib.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=121772789&site=eds-live
Jia-Ji Sun, Yen-Jung Chang. Associations of Problematic Binge-Watching with Depression, Social Interaction Anxiety, and Loneliness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18(1168):1168. doi:10.3390/ijerph18031168
- Starosta JA, Izydorczyk B. Understanding the Phenomenon of Binge-Watching-A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2020;17(12). doi:10.3390/ijerph17124469
- Baysinger T. Study Finds Link between Binge-Watching and Depression. Broadcasting & Cable. 2015;145(5):4. Accessed February 9, 2021.