When people look back on 2020, they will all have two things in common: everyone had to take part in nationwide lockdowns, and everyone watched Netflix’s Tiger King. Not only did people watch Tiger King, but binge-watching TV programs increased more than ever as social engagements had to be put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past few years, as streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime become the norm, if a new series comes out that doesn’t come with the option to binge, people actively complain about it. In a 2019 survey carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was found that the average American watches almost 20 hours of TV a week, and the majority of that time is spent binging programs.
Why Do People Love to Binge-Watch?
The general reason is that we get to escape from the daily grind. There is nothing better than settling down in a cozy spot in front of the TV and diving headfirst into hours upon hours of their favorite television show. When there is the potential to make this even cozier by purchasing a huge bean bag to settle into from Sumo Lounge, the idea does seem welcoming to many.
An even simpler reason as to why so many people enjoy binge-watching is because they enjoy it. In a recent study, 73% of people confirmed they have positive feelings when it comes to binge-watching TV. In addition, Dr. Renee Carr recently commented that binge-watching television produces a continuous stream of dopamine in our brains. Binging TV can give provide recurring hits of dopamine. This can act as a driving factor as you keep the TV running well into the early hours of the morning.
The Risks of Binge-Watching
Given binge-watching activates the reward section in our brain, we continue to do it. That can come with its own downside as our brains could continue to produce less dopamine for the same level of activity. This is because you start to build a tolerance to the activity, so what originally released a large hit of dopamine becomes normal and doesn’t contain with it the same level of enjoyment. Not only does this make us less susceptible to the enjoyable nature of binge-watching, but it also makes it harder to stop.
This is another reason why, when new programs aren’t available to binge, people tend to effectively mourn the loss of that ability. These feelings can be incredibly detrimental, as they can impose feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Striking a Balance
Life can be incredibly stressful and so counting on binge-watching as alleviation from that stress is totally normal and not something you should feel guilty about. If you’ve had a tough day and just want to jump into a huge bean bag with some snacks and a sitcom, do it!
That being said, it is incredibly important to remember there is a line between healthy binge-watching and addictive behavior. Set yourself limits on the number of programs you can watch and stick to it, no matter how illustrious the cliff-hanger. Replace that activity with going for walks, meeting friends, and cooking, which can all also be welcome sources of enjoyment.
By striking that balance between enjoying television with other activities, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of binge-watching without suffering from any of the potential negative consequences.
Also read, KiwiReport