How Much Binge-watching Is Good For You?

Binge-watching can affect your psychological and mental health. With early signs like depression and anxiety, find out how to watch TV responsibly.
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Have you been watching a show for more than 3-5 hours a day? Are you in love with that strong character who makes the bold move? Do you feel sad when a character dies in the fictional series you’ve been watching for a very long time? If you answered yes to these questions, you are showing signs of addiction to binge-watching. Getting involved in the lives of a fictional show and sticking to it for long hours can affect your mental health leading to anxiety and depression.

Effects of binge-watching
Photo by Victoria Heath / Binge-watching late in the night also has an effect due to the blue rays of the electronic device

What is binge-watching?

When you decide to watch two episodes at first but 5 hours later you realize that you’ve almost crushed the entire series.

Binge-watching means ‘watching back-to-back episodes of a TV Series in a single sitting’.

You may find yourself guilty of staying up all night to find out the tragic ending of the show. But it also gives us a sense of accomplishment to finish the whole series at one shot. It happens to most of us. All thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Disney+ and many more who are encouraging the audience to watch new shows with the concept of binge-watching. 

As per a survey by Netflix, 61% of its users’ binge-watch a TV show from time to time. It has become a normative way to consume TV Series. Though the concept of movie marathons or watching multiple episodes in one session was practiced, it wasn’t popular until Netflix introduced the term ‘Binge-Watching’ to users across the world by releasing the entire TV Series on the same day.

Successful market research studies conducted by Deloitte digital democracy survey over the past few years reported a tremendous increase in binge-watchers where 68 percent of consumers practice this activity. Among them, 31 percent watch at least once a week, whereas 34 percent prefer binge-watching at least once a month.

Motivations for binge-watching:

Binge watching affects your brain:

As much as you ‘feel good’ about watching your favorite show for hours, this can lead to serious mental health issues pulling you away from your social life. When a person spends more number of hours watching a fictional life, they may not follow their daily routine.

People wouldn’t watch any show if they didn’t like it. For example, a TV Show like ‘This Is Us’ deals with the lives of a couple and their children dealing with their career and relationships. Such shows may feel good to watch but it may also leave us emotionally unstable. The amount of drama in the show that takes place makes us over-think situations in real life.

It gives you the ‘high’:

Do you wonder why 73 percent of people surveyed by Netflix reported having positive feelings when they binge-watch?

There are various studies on why we feel good about watching shows. A clinical psychologist shares that the ‘feeling good’ is because our brain releases a chemical called dopamine - our body’s pleasure chemical. This happens when we are involved in enjoyable activities like binge-watching which gives a similar drug-like ‘high’.

Studies say, while watching new shows on OTT platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, etc. without waiting for an episode every week sounds interesting, it can lead to premature death.

As Marketcast says, 56% of binge-watchers prefer watching alone and 98% want to watch their show at home. This leads to a lack of social life and increased isolation. Continuously watching one show can have adverse effects on your brain. There can be psychological effects the areas of the brain activate to the same situation as when experiencing a live event. You tend to get drawn into the storylines, become attached, and truly care about the characters and their outcomes of conflicts.

The emptiness when it’s over:

We usually feel sad and empty after watching an entire series. This feeling is called ‘situational depression’ where you finish a series and tend to mourn a loss. The brain stimulation is lowered causing depression for a short span period. Therefore, it is recommended to socialize and talk to people. Through this, you can avoid isolating and get over the temporary situation easily.

Netflix and chill
Image Source: Nicolas-AdobeStock

How to binge-watch healthily?

Binge-watch responsibly:

Now that you know the steps for responsible binge-watching, how do you plan to watch your new favorite TV Series?

A writer who loves watching movie-marathons. Otherwise, you'll find her walking around the city, cafe-hopping & trying the best food around.

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