April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine
Feeling guilty for Netflixing old Gossip Girl episodes? Can't tear yourself away when a Sex and the City marathon comes on? Rejoice! Two recent studies show that re-watching episodes of your favorite shows is a good way to get yourself motivated and energized.
The studies, both published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that watching a rerun of your favorite TV show (or favorite movie, or even re-reading a beloved book), can re-energize you when your stores of motivation and drive have been sapped.
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In her first study, Jaye Derrick, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions, found that participants who spent some time writing about their fave TV shows between tasks did better at subsequent tasks and had more motivation and energy than people who didn't.
For the second study, participants kept a daily diary to track their effortful tasks, media consumption and energy levels each day. Derrick found that when people had to do effortful tasks, they were more likely to seek reruns of their favorite television show, or to re-watch or re-read a favorite book or movie -- which then restored their energy levels.
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Why? Derrick surmises that it has to do with a combination of being comforted by watching the familiar unfold (no worries about how it's going to end) and the relationships you have with the characters in those old episodes. Yep -- your relationship with Carrie Bradshaw/Liz Lemon/Marge Simpson can motivate you to finish paying your bills or writing that presentation tonight!
Even Derrick was surprised by some of the results of her research, she tells HealthySELF. "I was surprised to find that the effects were specific to re-watching televisions shows or movies and re-reading books, i.e., 'familiar' fictional worlds, rather than generalizing to new television shows, movies, or books, i.e., 'novel' fictional worlds," she says.
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In other words: yes, it has to be a rerun, not a new show or book, for you to experience the energizing effects. But this isn't carte blanche to just veg out all night in front of the boob tube! According to Derrick, it only takes a "very short" amount of time to experience the energizing effects of a little reunion with, say, Serena van der Woodsen. Plus, don't forget that, as HealthySELF recently reported, cutting TV time is good for your health!
Another reason to be wary of too much TV (reruns or not) -- a recent study published in the journal Mass Communication and Society found that the more you buy into unrealistic portrayals of romance on the small -- and big -- screen, the less satisfied you're likely to be in your own love life. So, watch a rerun when you need a jolt of energy -- then get up and move!
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