Why watching TV is amazing for your social life

In defence of watching too much TV

Watching TV
(Image credit: Sara Jaye Weiss/REX/Shutterstock)

In defence of watching too much TV

Winter is here. You know what that means: more Netflix and chill time. It’s the season where you’re more likely to stay in and watch the best box sets, ever, or indulge in some clever Netflix hacks than go out. But these days, we second screen everything. It’s hard to focus on your favourite TV show when your Instagram likes are going off the roof, right? However, new research is saying that solidly sharing culture with your peers and loved ones can seriously strengthen your social relationships in your actual, physical daily life, away from social media…

It’ll save your relationship

A recent study by Aberdeen University discovered that couples who regularly watch box sets and enjoy films together are less likely to break up. This is because there’s a desire in relationships to share common interests. This can be difficult when you don’t work at the same place, or even within the same industry, and you don’t share any mutual friends. But, don’t fear, because you can still share a social identity (which is ‘a key component of interdependence’, according to the study) by enjoying the same TV shows and films to compensate for any other of these deficits. To sum up, sharing media equals greater relationship quality.

Emotional films will boost your pain threshold

And when it comes to self-improvement, Oxford University scientists have shown that watching emotional content, or something that involves tragedy, can trigger your endorphin system and even boost your physical pain thresholds by increasing your levels of pain-killing chemicals released in your brain. It’s the same way that when you exercise, you experience a kick in endorphins after because putting your body under stress eventually leads to that effect, according to Oxford professor of evolutionary psychology, Robin Dunbar, ‘It has turned out that the same areas in the brain that deal with physical pain also handle psychological pain,’ said Dunbar. The study recorded that people who had watched a sad film were able to hold a physically taxing position 13% longer than they were able to before viewing.

Films will also strengthen your friendships

Watching a moving film and getting emotional about it also increases a feeling of belonging towards the people you’ve just watched it with. This positive effect on social groups is also a trigger to higher endorphin levels. It’s because of the desire to share affinity for emotive fiction, whether that involves pissing your pants with laughter with your BFF at a comedy or trying not to cry at the cinema next to your male housemate during , has also evolved within the context of bonding. Professor Sophie Scott from the Neuroscience group at University College London reiterated that shared emotional experiences make you feel closer to people so, it’s been scientifically proven that watching films and TV together has become an integral part of social activities that bring us all together. Go forth and embrace your inner couch potato.

Delphine Chui