Psychologist says watching Friends can help your anxiety

Psychologist says watching Friends can help your anxiety

Thanks to Netflix, millennials are getting a taste of what got us 90's kids through the decade: Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Monica, Ross and Phoebe. The hit sitcom Friends, which has proved to be a one-stop shop for nostalgia, is keeping a new generation of fans entertained with tales of love, heartbreak, financial ruin, and above all: sartorial mishaps.

One thing is for sure, however – millennials will be even more disturbed by the fact that six friends in relatively low-paying jobs managed to afford such a spacious abode in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I mean, I sure know what I'm blaming all my unrealistic expectations of adulthood on...

Luckily, Netflix now has all 10 seasons ready to stream, so we can relive all these improbabilities time and time again. And they may just help us manage our anxiety, well, according to one psychologist, at least.

Marc Hekster, Clinical Psychologist at The Summit Clinic in Highgate, told The Metro that watching the sitcom can actually help calm your brain.

"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 said.

"Anxiety is in fact the human minds’ alarm system, indicating that something is wrong, and usually the result of pent up and unprocessed feelings," Hekster continued. "The feelings 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."

The psychologist went onto explain that watching shows like Friends is the perfect form of escapism, as we see the characters solve their problems.

"[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," he detailed. "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."

"This is about the healing nature of repetition. We see this in children, resolving child-like feelings and emotions by doing the same thing over and again – often to the incredulity of their parents. 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. Bring on Friends repeats for the 10th time."

Well, I'm off to have a binge watching session!