Most people watch television and movies regularly these days. We live in a binge-worthy society where the latest hot Netflix series is trending on Twitter in less than a day or two, and the newest Marvel movie is the only thing people are talking about for weeks.
Unwinding with your favorite TV show or a good movie can be extremely beneficial. It’s a great way to relax, reduce your stress levels, and even bond with friends and family members who like the same shows and movies.
But, too much “binge-watching” can do more harm than good. It’s easy to want a Hallmark romance, or a house fixed up by Chip and Joanna Gaines. It’s even easy to fall into the trap of thinking reality television shows are, well … real.
Fact is, there’s a fine line between enjoying and appreciating entertainment and living vicariously through it. Let’s take a closer look at that line, how your entertainment choices can be beneficial, and what you can do instead of pining away for what you see on a screen.
Understanding the Benefits
There have been plenty of negative stereotypes surrounding TV-watching over the years, but many of them aren’t true. Watching TV and movies regularly actually has many benefits beyond relaxation, including:
- You can learn new things
- You’ll stay up-to-date on current events
- You can learn about different cultures
- Joining a “fandom” can connect you with other people
- Some shows can boost your mental health
- It can help you to feel less lonely
Watching movies has also been shown to boost your immune system and have a positive impact on your overall health. Watching shows and movies you love can end up adding quite a bit of joy to your life, so don’t be afraid to sit down and relax in front of the TV each night.
But, make sure you’re using television and movies for entertainment only and not living vicariously through them.
When to Take a Step Back
Why do you enjoy certain shows and movies? Do they make you laugh? Stir up emotions? Or, do you find yourself wishing your life was more like whatever you’re seeing on screen?
For example, if you spend a lot of your free time watching dating shows like The Bachelor, it’s easy to get swept up in a world of fantasy. Everyone is attractive, there’s a lot of excitement, and some of the “dates” contestants go on are exceedingly romantic.
But, even reality television shows follow a basic outline and script. So, while you can use shows like that to plan your own romantic dates or put more effort into your own relationship, take a step back if you find yourself focusing on the wrong things.
In most shows and movies, actors and actresses (and even “real” contestants) are made up to look perfect. For certain roles, actors have to train for months and follow restrictive diets to look a particular way. If you find yourself coveting someone’s shape or fitness level, keep in mind that it’s probably not realistic. Whether you want to look your best for a special event, like a wedding, or you just want to get in better shape, stay body positive and focus on your health rather than letting the fantasy of the entertainment world give you unrealistic expectations.
You should also recognize that you’re living vicariously through TV and movies if they start to impact your thoughts about reality. Romantic comedies are heartwarming and can give you “all the feels”. But, it’s important to stay realistic about love and relationships. Crime dramas can get your heart racing, but it doesn’t mean danger is lurking around every corner.
When you’re able to separate the entertainment world from the real world, you can enjoy watching shows and movies with no problem. If you do want to connect your life with your entertainment choices, use them to inspire change, rather than wishing your life was more like a movie.
Using Entertainment as Inspiration
Think about the shows and movies you most like to watch.
If you find yourself wishing your house could be more like the perfectly decorated homes on HGTV, why not pick up a hammer? You don’t have to be a professional interior designer to make renovations around your home. Some of the best DIY projects you can do that even add value to your home include:
- Building an outdoor fence
- Installing new bathroom fixtures
- Making modern upgrades
- Updating your landscaping
Even small upgrades like painting or hanging new artwork can make a big difference, and you can use inspiration from your favorite home improvement shows, rather than sitting there wishing for something different.
You can even find inspiration in adventure or outdoor-based shows. You don’t need to be the next Bear Grylls to use outdoor entertainment as an excuse to step out into nature. Camping, for example, is a great way to de-stress and improve your overall wellness. Plus, you’ll feel like your favorite survivalists from the screen as you’re pitching a tent and hiking. Just make sure to be prepared by staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and bringing a first aid kit.
When you choose to use TV and movies as motivators, rather than wishing you could live in the confines of a scripted series, you’ll enjoy your entertainment choices so much more.
Keep these ideas in mind the next time you turn on your favorite show or movie, and consider why you like it so much. How can you use the inspiration from that show or movie to make positive changes in your own life?
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