We’ve all been there - that Saturday afternoon you have been looking forward to all week where you get to sleep in, stay in your pajamas, curl up on the couch and watch your favorite TV show with no agenda for the day. It seems that somehow one episode turns into six and the day slips away so quickly and comfortably. Relaxation is a gift and something everyone should practice.
But, what if binge-watching becomes more routine than it is a special occasion luxury? It doesn’t necessarily mean that something deeper needs to be looked at, but it can be a good marker for you to look inside and see why you are so drawn to “zoning out”?
This list is by no means all-inclusive, but be sure and ask yourself if you align with any of the reasons below before you turn on the TV next.
3 Reasons for Recurrent TV Binging:
Avoidance / HidingMost of us are familiar with the term “putting your head in the sand” which refers to avoiding a problem, but not a lot of people know the origin. It comes from studying ostriches who, when they are frightened, bury their heads in the sand to avoid being seen. This is similar to a toddler who covers their eyes and thinks their parent can’t find them. It seems to make sense to them, but in all rationality and logic, they are still very clearly visible. Sometimes watching TV can feel like you are hiding and not being seen, but that may just be your own self-soothing coping mechanism.
Loneliness / NumbingIt can be so easy to numb out feelings when watching TV. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s book “Conscious Parenting” she describes screen time as something that can rob us of learning how to sit with our emotions and navigate our feelings. In the context of a child she says “as the child becomes buried in the noise of the program or game, its emotions are blunted. Television or the computer soon become an obsession, so that our children want to be on them all the times, in their numbness feeling strangely comforted by the presence of a screen.” This can be true for adults too.
Overwhelmed / EscapingSometimes life hits us hard in multiple directions at once. It can feel so easy to want to throw your hands up and say “I’m done!” but like most adults, we have responsibilities we can’t just turn our backs on. But, we can escape into the life of someone else for a few hours and live another fantasy. It can feel good for a while until the program ends and we are still confronted with our own pain.
Sometimes binging can leave you in a hole or a cave - knowing it could be healthier to step out of the house, but taking that first step still feels so daunting. In that case, speaking with a professional can help you ease out slowly and gradually. You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (310) 614-0323.