Stress is all around us. A 2015 study at Penn State says there are more than 100,000 college students at 140 colleges and universities seeking mental health treatment.
Whether we’re stressing about our academics, work, friends or relationships, it seems like every corner we turn leads us to a new stressor.
So, what do we do? On a Tuesday afternoon when the going gets tough we certainly can’t go looking for the nearest party to take our minds off things. If we need a break from studying, why would we start reading a book? If we’re fighting with our friends and need a minute to breath from them, clearly we aren’t going to turn to our friends to help relieve our stress.
It seems obvious: watch Netflix. I mean, it’s 2017. What else would we do besides get on our laptops and start watching the drama going on in Meredith Grey’s life to help ourselves feel better about the drama in ours?
We start watching Across the Universe because seeing how people lived during the Vietnam War while singing some of The Beatles’ greatest hits is so much better than worrying about the Psych quiz we need to study for.
There’s a whopping 86 million Netflix users every month, and that number is constantly growing. People need something to fill their time, to distract themselves from the menial or overwhelming aspects of their lives.
In fact, it seems safe to assume that the reason any television show or movie is made is to help take people out of their own lives for at least a little while. And in college, a time when stress levels are getting higher and higher for us, watching Gilmore Girls or Breaking Bad is a much needed, much loved distraction.
Beyond being a stress reliever, sitting back and binge-watching is a great way to fill the time. Have an hour or two between classes? Why not watch an episode or two, or four, of Friends? There’s no end to the benefits that Netflix and the numerous other online streaming services – Hulu, HBOGo, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video – have to offer.
Of course, one thing most people don’t realize is happening when they binge watch is that their world-view is being widened. Seeing Walter White have to revert to selling meth in order to afford cancer treatments makes people think about how messed up insurance is. Seeing Emily and Paige from Pretty Little Liars have an adult, same-sex relationship that is widely accepted throughout a series makes us
It’s interesting to think that while we use Netflix as an escape from the real world, we are inadvertently growing as people because of it. When shows like Blackish, Grey’s Anatomy, or Glee tackle real world issues like racism, bullying, homophobia and even terrorism, we find ourselves growing from witnessing such an ordeal – even if we haven’t lived through it ourselves.
The things we watch change us by making us see things differently. So don’t let the little things stress you out too much. When the going gets tough, there’s