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Study Finds Reruns of TV Shows Help Us Cope With Stress

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(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

This week the new fall television lineup kicks off with premieres from The Voice and X Factor. But some people though would rather watch another rerun of their favorite show. Turns out, this might be better for your health.

A new study finds that watching reruns can help people recover after a stressful experience.

It is even believed that spending some time with your favorite characters can be more beneficial to your mood than hanging out with your friends.

Jaye L. Derrick, a research scientist at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, says this is because there are fewer complications when it comes to your TV friends.

“There are a lot of benefits you can get from close relationships, but there are also a lot of problems,” Derrick says. “You have to put up with someone else’s needs, you have to get through fights, there are conflicts of interest… Fictional worlds can be a way of seeking connection to others without having all the strings attached.”

Derrick, whose findings were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, led two separate studies. One took a look at two different groups of people who were feeling stressed. While one group wrote an essay about their favorite TV show, the other simply wrote about the objects in the room. The group focusing on TV ended up performing better on a mental concentration test.

The other study asked subjects to keep a diary where they wrote about their day, mentioning if they watched reruns of their favorite shows after feeling stressed and how they felt after. Those who did ended up feeling better and less stressed out.

“With a rerun, you already know what’s going to happen and don’t have to pay as much attention,” she said. “You’re just enjoying it, getting positive mood benefits, and feeling like you’re there with comfortable people.”

Derrick doesn’t advise you sit around all day watching TV, but she does say people shouldn’t feel bad about watching an hour or so of television after work.

So now you don’t have to feel bad about watching those nightly marathons of How I Met You Mother or The Big Bang Theory. You’re just working on stress management.

- Shannon Carlin, CBS Local

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