• Bola Kwame

Watching Friends Can Treat Your Anxiety

I just can't stop binge-watching docu-series of serial killers and true crime. In addition, Netflix won't stop releasing them, although my therapist does not recommend watching that kind of content in tense moments such as in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, I thought that the recommendation of the professionals would be to stop watching TV and concentrate more on physical activities, surprisingly it was not the case.

My therapist advised me to watch Friends (again), and here’s why:

Many professionals suggest to their patients that they use movies and TV shows as a way to deal with anxiety and distress, in fact, this has its own name: Cinema therapy. Watching a TV show is a great way to distract yourself, relax, and deal with stress.

Although obviously, watching a Saw marathon or spending the whole day watching The Walking Dead may not be the way to achieve it. Therapists recommend watching things that give you a feeling of calm and of being "at home." Family comedies are always a good option.

These are some series that can become your new comfort shows to fight anxiety.

Watching TV as a form of therapy

A few years ago psychologists would tell us how harmful it is to watch television all the time, and how it rots our brains and isolates us from doing activities outside. Apparently, those psychologists never watched Game of Thrones or they are basically my mom.

Modern therapists of 2021 know that there is no point fighting against watching TV because it is a very easy and effective way to disconnect from the stress of day to day and have a little distraction. Actually, sitting on the sofa to watch our favorite show has many health benefits, and knowing how to take advantage of these properties can be a way to have therapy at home.

No, you absolutely must NOT stop going to therapy with a professional and watch all seasons of The Simpsons instead.

People who suffer from General Anxiety Disorder should learn exercises and techniques to deal with moments of great pressure and anguish since anxiety totally shuts down the functioning of the body. For those who do not have such a serious diagnosis, watching series or movies can be our exercise as a coping mechanism.

Find your comfort show

We have all seen a movie or episode that has made us feel warm inside, lifts our spirits, and fixes even the worst day. That show when you're at work and everything is in chaos you think, "I can't wait to get home and see what will happen to Rachel and Joey's romance."

They are those series that make us forget everything negative, and even for 22 minutes, nothing bad is happening in the world.

The experts encourage us to see more of this type of content, which brings us positive emotions, with easily resolved conflicts and that may remind us of our families.

You shouldn't discard the less light and positive shows, those can also help us. In a time where negative news, fake news, and clickbait bombard us with tragedies and chaos, it is a good idea to find balance with things that make us feel safe.

The impact of a comfort show is so great that it can be compared to the effect of some drugs on the brain. That's right, watching a comedy show can get you up to serotonin levels as heroin would.

Kids, don't do drugs, better do The Big Band Theory instead.

It's way funnier. I promise I know…

The best shows to do Cinema Therapy

If you're wondering which tv shows you can stream right now to get a good dose of happy chemicals, the best answer is whatever makes you feel good. It doesn't matter if it's a series that you already watched hundreds of times and you know the dialogues, if it makes you laugh and feel all fuzzy insides, that's the one.

If you want new recommendations that are also endorsed by professionals, these are some tv shows that can help you deal with anxiety.


Don't be surprised to see the classics on this list, if this show has managed to stay relevant for so many years, it is because it helped many to get through the most difficult moments of their lives. Joey, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, Ross, and Monica deal with problems in everyday life, and no matter what, it always works out in the end.

The Office

This is another classic and one of my personal favorites. Dunder Mifflin is not your usual work environment and Michael Scott is not your typical boss. This show has become so familiar that I feel its characters as current coworkers.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Although it was close to being canceled, the fans did not let it die. A wholesome work environment and with light humor. You wouldn't expect to see a series of cops here, but the Nine-Nine knows how to win your heart in a few minutes.

Queer Eye

I honestly never thought I'd be obsessed with a makeover show, but the Fab Five made me feel like family in every episode and made me shed a tear almost every time. Inspiring and moving stories and moments that recharged my spiritual batteries for life.

The Good Place

I can't begin to explain how this show changed my way of seeing death. It felt like 22-minute ethics and spirituality classes, making me cry with laughter. The Good Place takes themes like life and death, the afterlife, and eternity and delivers them with incredible subtlety and humor. I love the characters in this tv series as well as many family members.

Modern Family

If you are away from home, seeing the problems of dysfunctional but happy families resolved will make you feel like your annoying little brother is still around and that your parents still lecture you from time to time. Here you have 250 episodes of pure humor and positivity.

How Much TV is TV Enough?

It is risky to tell people that binge-watching their favorite TV shows will cure their anxiety, so you have to be responsible with this information.

A relationship has been noted between the hours spent watching TV by people during crisis situations. People with forewarning features tend to spend all day in front of the TV as long as their work and free time allow it. Don't let thinking you're doing Cinema Therapy end up spending 8 hours a day watching Friends, that's not healthy either. If your doctor prescribes painkillers for you, it doesn't mean you will swallow a whole bottle at once.

So how long do experts recommend we watch TV to relieve stress?

A maximum of 2 hours a day. Or what is the same: two episodes or a movie. That's the amount of time you can spend watching your comfort show without it becoming a problem. You can do it during your free moments when eating, or a while before going to bed.

Psychologists strongly recommend varying the way we consume content to cope. One day you can listen to music, another you can watch podcasts, etc. Do not play all your cards in one way to relieve stress and pressure, outdoor activities are also a good option. There are different ways to do it, the important thing is to choose well. Choose how you spend your time, choose what you see, and choose the positive and uplifting things above the chaos of everyday life.


We made something a little great! The Anxiety Workbook, get yours by clicking here.


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