With going digital being the norm, it would seem like most people have resorted to binge-watching everything they could find on streaming platforms. But there are those who have also been falling behind on the trend, either by rewatching shows they already know instead of playing new ones, or avoiding the habit altogether. I happen to belong to the former.
Like many people, I once relished in discovering new films and shows. I didn’t mind if I was late to the cinema or a few episodes behind everyone else, as long as I got to watch them. Lately, though, I found myself downloading shows from before, and watching only them. It wasn’t until more people from my circle admitted to doing the same that I realised that this was a thing — and there are reasons that explain this.
The truth behind rewatching shows
Briefly put, rewatching shows helps us feel good about ourselves because of the self-control that we gain from the activity. It’s especially true when we’re in the face of difficult and uncontrollable situations. Currently, there’s a considerable amount of literature delving on the matter, but a study by Jaye L. Derrick provides a good starting point.
In her study, Derrick points out how we tend to turn to familiar shows, such as a favourite television program, when we’re emotionally drained. In turn, immersing ourselves in these familiar forms of media develops within us a sense of belongingness — and thereby, a form of self-control and rejuvenation that’s impossible to find in other means during these times.
Another study by Cristel Antonia Russell and Sidney J. Levy revealed that revisiting pleasant experiences also makes you happy. “We find that consumers who chose to repeat hedonic experiences even just once are expressing and affirming their individual experience and its special meanings to them,” the authors said.
What else this habit can do for you
These findings are likewise consistent with what’s known as the familiarity principle, or the mere-exposure effect by Robert Zajonc. In these psychological phenomena, humans are said to prefer things and experiences that are already familiar to them over new ones. The more we watch the same shows, for example, the less likely we are to feel negative emotions.
The same reason then explains why we sometimes naturally gravitate towards the same things when we’re not having the best of days. Doing so relaxes our mental and emotional energy, gives us a sense of order and security, brings out good nostalgia, and allows us to feel comfort from our go-to virtual “relationships” with characters, whether they are fictional or not.
As of writing, I’ve managed to rewatch The Conjuring, Insidious, Harry Potter, The Parent Trap, The Amazing Race, That’s So Raven, Recess, and plenty more. I don’t mean just rewatching once, but multiple times over within months. This would also include the hours when I would just play them in the background as I work. And with everything that’s going on, from the continued lockdowns to me juggling four jobs, there’s no stopping me from continuing the habit.
Have you also found relief from rewatching shows lately? To make your next viewing session even more enjoyable, review our recommendations on how to make your own budget home cinema. For ideas on what shows to rewatch, start with this list.
Featured image credit: Atul Vinayak | Unsplash