It is safe to say that most people like Friends — and while it may not be the best show ever made — it seems to be one of the most easily digestible shows out there.
And according to a clinical psychologist, Marc Hekster, both the nature and the content of the show means it actually can help people experiencing feeling of anxiety.
“Having worked for over a period of 20 years with those experiencing anxiety, I can conclude that among other factors, it is the repetitive and relational nature of programs such as Friends and Big Bang Theory that will be doing the trick.” he shared with Metro.
“Anxiety is in fact the human minds’ alarm system, indicating that something is wrong, and usually the result of pent-up and unprocessed feelings.”
“The build-up is not dissimilar to a pressure-cooker and will always need to find a way out.”
“If they can’t find a way of being expressed, the alarm system triggers, and it is usually not very pleasant for the person suffering with the anxiety. Few people who suffer from anxiety will have much good to say about it, and will want to escape it.”
Mr. Hekster shared that it is the resolution of the characters’ problems in the show that can give people comfort as well as a sense of escapism.
“[Watching Friends] is about an experience of repair, of watching the characters in the show repeatedly having worries, which then get repaired and soothed, usually in the context of other relationships in their lives.”
“Complex problems are made the focus of each episode, and then they are resolved within the relationships which are the essence of the shows. It is pure escapism – excellent, bring it on.”
And while it seems unlikely that watching Friends will completely erase any anxiety you may have if you don’t particularly like the show and/or are annoyed with how repetitious it is – Mr. Hekster says it is this very aspect of the show that makes it so soothing to its viewers.
“Yes, it is soothing to see the same outcome every time and know you can depend on it. This is at the heart of human development. So, when grown-ups are anxious, they can have child-like feelings of fear and worry, and these can be soothed by repetition.”
But if you can’t see yourself stomaching a few seasons of the show, we do have a few other ways to help alleviate any anxiety you may be facing.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends the following strategies to help calm down those brain waves.
Take a time-out
Listening to music or practicing yoga — mediating or getting a massage — anything to help clear your head will help calm your body down!
Eat well-balanced meals
Be sure to do your best to not skip any meals and consume energy-boosting meals and be sure to limit alcohol and caffeine as both can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
When your stressed, your body craves additional sleep so be sure to get your daily dose of ZZZ’s.
Do your best
Remember that perfection is impossible and accept that you cannot control everything. Do your best to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and remember to talk to a trusted friend or therapist about these feelings.
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