How Binge-Watching Can Affect Your Brain

by Hamza Shahid8th Mar, 2018

Urging all entertainment geeks like me, if you’re reading this blog: DISCARD all the bullocks you hear about “Binge-Watching” on other websites. Why? Because It certainly isn’t BAD FOR YOUR BRAIN and nothing happens to your body either, GEEZ!  So, forget about hitting the pause button, if you don’t feel like it. Flip  the bird to those who discourage you from chilling for a while, and allow me to elaborate…

how binge watching can affect your brain

YOU are perfectly capable of managing everything in life; take on a job, workout, and give time to your kids, while leveraging entertainment via binge-watching. And NO, you don’t get anti-social by this, unless you’ve always been an introvert! It’s foolish sometimes how psychologists are so adamant on classifying humans in different personalities, and then ignore it completely later on.

NO, 5 hours in front of the TV won’t wear you out, as binging actually activates brain circuits! NO, you WILL NOT suffer from health issues, if you stand, stretch, and take mini physical breaks! And, if you do get ADDICTED, there’s nothing wrong with that too! We live in a different day and age. Humans are constantly evolving. Our bodies/minds adapt to our lifestyle.

Breaking Bad

 

Bear in mind it’s all about YOUR OWN thought process and the creation of a proper routine that can make all the DIFFERENCE. I hate giving myself as an example (because I am not a narcissistic person with his head stuck up his a**), but I work a full-time job, manage responsibilities at home, run personal errands, converse with my friends (meet them on the weekends), even hit the gym daily, yet I still find time to binge-watch TV shows at night.

The only thing this addictive habit does affect is my sleeping routine. And, let me tell you something about that. Contrary to popular belief, 8 hours of sleep is not NECESSARY at all. Hope the answer below provides enough information about the MYTH. And do consider trying out the unexplored sleeping variations for maximum efficiency to handle your day. Bear in mind that it’s all psychological. If you are constantly worried about being a binge-watcher, thinking it affects you negatively, it actually will.

Read Muhammad Hamza Shahid‘s answer to What are your thoughts on a person not sleeping for 3 days (only power naps), and then takes a long sleep of about 10-15 hours repeatedly as a cycle? on Quora

Now, enough of defying stereotypes, let’s talk about the benefits of BINGING…

Helps Manage Stress

After working our buttocks off at the office, going through a rough day altogether, binge-watching actually acts as a temporary escape. And trust me, we all need to unwind every day, rather than just leaving things for the weekend. Binging is the perfect stress management tool, which allows us to tune out things that bother us in life on a daily basis. By diverting your attention to a little entertainment, you allow yourself to block out thoughts that act as a  constant stressor in your mind, negatively affecting your mood!

Stress Management

 

Activates Multiple Brain Circuits

Binge watching wears a person out? WRONG. When you watch a TV series for a consistent amount of time, it activates those areas of your brain, involved in vision, emotion, arousal, and aggression. How does these even prove to be bad? You are helping your brain stay healthy and active! The visual cortex, sensory motor areas, septum, and hypothalamus are constantly being stimulated for you to FOCUS, which brings us to another point. Binging is a good activity for those who have trouble concentrating. Subconsciously, you train your mind to be more focused on the task at hand.

Activates multi brain circuits

 

Gives You Something to Talk About

Oh, binging leads to anti-socialness eh? YEAH RIGHT! It can help people like us in FOSTERING RELATIONSHIPS. It’s a conversation starter with those who have already watched the TV show, allowing you to connect over an in-depth discussion! Who says you even need to binge alone? Grab a partner or buddy and stream Netflix throughout the night, while discussing the TV series. It’s a fun activity, and you can even place bets on what happens next. That’s what I do, after great calculation though (oh, who am I kidding I suck at math).

Gives you something to talk about

 

Enhances Your Knowledge

There’s a saying that “knowledge is omnipresent”. It is available in everything and everywhere, but it’s you who has to focus on GAINING it. Now this may not be related to binging entirely, yet I often find myself looking up on real-life epics/fictions, while researching on the facts presented in them. For instance, when I started watching “Hannibal”, I was surprised to learn such serial killers actually existed.

People like Ted Bundy, who was a psychopath, knew exactly what he did, felt no empathy, and was quite a genius. The guy blamed pornography for his actions, before dying by capital punishment, sparking an international debate. And, you could literally see him laughing inside during that interview. So, what I’m trying to say is that, there’s a lot you can absorb by simply watching something.

Enhance your knowledge

When I watched “Narcos” – I was adamant on learning more about the life and events of Pablo Escobar, and how he managed to create an entire drug empire, starting from NOTHING. When I watched “Sherlock”, I automatically found myself being more observant to my surroundings. I’d begun noticing things that I wouldn’t generally pay attention to, creating accurate deductions on different things in life. Since I’m quite concerned about constantly improving my vocabulary, I even find myself looking for meanings of words I didn’t hear before and were mentioned in a particular TV series or movie.

With Great Fun Comes Great Responsibility!

Now, I do not deny the negative repercussions some may throw at me. So I’ll clear things out beforehand. When I tell you guys to enjoy binging, it doesn’t mean you slide into the couch, and not move the entire day (unless it’s the weekend of course). To properly manage your daily life and binge-watching habits, you need to create a good routine to live by, as it can make all the difference. So, here are a few tips you can use for defying the adverseness people tell you about, and create a solid binge strategy:

  1. If you plan on binging a 5 to 10 season long TV series like “Shameless US”, “Breaking Bad“, “Friends“, or “Two and a Half Men“ (just a few examples), it’s advised to shift the watch-craze to the weekend, where you don’t have to worry about work in the morning or other errands/chores.
  2. For working days, make it a habit to watch only three 1 hour or 45-minute long episodes. You can do this at different intervals in the day, which keeps your entertainment side in check, while allowing you to focus on various tasks. At the same time, you can only binge at night, with a little compromise on sleep (if it doesn’t bother you, that is).
  3. If faced with cliff hangers that might be resolved if you stay up for just one more episode, rather than watching the entire thing, opt for viewing only about 20 minutes of it. This will help settle your curiosity about what happens next, while ensuring you don’t get so deep into the next storyline.
  4. Don’t forget to balance your binging habits with other activities. This is really important, as you wouldn’t want to be LAZY. While yes, the feeling of diving into the bed makes you numb-ish, it is imperative you keep your activity up. Stand up for a while. Do a little stretches when watching. Pause the show. Walk around. HYDRATE. Get back and enjoy your TV show.
  5. I am well-aware of the need to munch on something while watching your favorite TV show. This doesn’t, however, mean you can’t make healthy choices and indulge in BINGE-EATING. Yes, those smoothies, chips, biscuits taste great, but to balance things out, eat frozen grapes or try making some real meals that bag healthy protein! Again, STAY HYDRATED.
  6. Avoid binging TV shows on small screens of smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Opt for a larger screen to ease the strain that comes with binging for hours. The further away you are, the less eye strain. You’ll also enjoy the binging experience a whole lot more on a TV.

Wrapping Things Up

So, people who say binge-watching is BAD, yadda yadda yadda, how do you like them apples (wink)? Now, I didn’t intend for this piece to be so lengthy, but I really wanted to inform all my binge-buddies out there in the world, that you can be healthy and manage everything – even with the addictive habit of binging TV shows/movies. Have a nice day folks!

Barack obama

Hamza Shahid's Biography :

Hamza Shahid is a tech and movie-geek, who adores creativity and innovation. When he is not binge-watching on Netflix and stuffing munchies, he loves sharing his expert knowledge regarding the latest trends in user privacy and copyright infringement. Apart from writing blogs/articles on cyber laws and political affairs, Hamza also takes keen interest in reviewing the latest movies/TV shows, while providing information about Netflix in the form guides!