The mental health benefits of watching your favourite childhood TV shows

Do you know that feeling of inner peace you get when you’re watching re-runs of the shows you used to love as a kid? Well, that kick of nostalgia you get can actually be quite beneficial, says psychotherapist Will Meyerhofer. Speaking with TODAY, he had this to say:

“For my clients, these old shows are like the food they grew up with. ‘The Brady Bunch’ or ‘The Facts of Life’ or ‘The Jeffersons’ is like that beloved baloney sandwich on Wonder Bread with just enough mayo the way mom used to make”

With all the responsibilities of being an adult, sometimes it’s good to step away from the chaos of today to enjoy an old TV show you used to adore, mainly because it brings you back to those simpler times when you weren’t the one in charge of the bills. Apparently, it can help those effected by anxiety and mild depression.

Shows such as Friends, Full House, The Golden Girls, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, That 70’s Show, The Brady Bunch, Seinfeld, etc can be considered as a form of comfort for many. You probably noticed that comfort and sense of peace when you’re watching these shows on days or periods when you’re just not feeling your best self. It’s an odd feeling of contentment fueled by the nostalgia that you’re experiencing in that very moment. Mayerhofer described it as “an instant regression in the service of the ego”.

Fellow psychologist Krystine Batcho (who’s field of research includes nostalgia) agrees:

“When people are stressed, or anxious, or feeling out of control, nostalgia helps calm them down. It’s comforting. It’s analogous to a hug from your mom or dad or being cuddled”

Don’t we all have that one old show that feels like a tight embrace of warmth?

“It’s harkening back to what we might, even erroneously, perceive as a simpler time in our life with fewer responsibilities and obligations and fewer worries,” Batcho added about watching old shows.

She also stated that these emotions can sometimes take us back to more specific times, that the shows can “bring back memories and feelings of the friends you had back then and the fun times you had together.”

Brady Bunch Movie, The Review | Movie - Empire

Obviously, the key here is not using these to avoid your mandatory responsibilities, and not binging an entire season in a day, since doing so may lead to deeper depression, but an episode or two during your free time (especially on bad days) may have a positive effect on your overall mental health.

If you’re looking for some old shows to speak some joy into your life, we’ve got you covered with a list of our favourite throwback shows that are available on Netflix right now!

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Written by Azra

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