If you’ve ever felt stressed, you’re probably familiar with ways to get rid of that stress. You probably know what those helpful “resiliency” people and their books usually say: meditation, breathing exercises, listening to music, exercising, cutting back on daily commitments and so on.
One way I’ve never seen offered? A snuggle fest with your TV.
There are a number of plausible reasons why watching TV is not what the doctor orders. Maybe it’s because news shows tend to provide stories which are either depressing or introduce even more worries into the viewer’s mind. Maybe it’s because when we are sitting down watching TV, we are not moving and exercising our bodies. Maybe all those bright, flashing lights do a number on our brains and move us away from that sense of calm.
But for me none of these downsides outweigh the ways TV helps me relieve stress. Why? It’s all about the laughter.
Even those book writers and doctors will tell you that laughter is a means of reducing stress. In fact, laughter has been shown to temporarily increase the body’s stress response and blood pressure, resulting in a heightened feeling of relaxation. Laughter even has long term benefits like a boosted immune system, natural pain relief and increased personal gratification.
While not everything on TV is a giggle fest, it certainly can be. Ellen? Al Roker? And those are just the daytime personalities – we haven’t even started talking about the funny you can find in sitcoms like 30 Rock or something as classic as The Andy Griffith Show.
As someone who tends to take life too seriously, the stresses of military life often weigh me down. During deployments, I find myself craving that TV-delivered humor. I become so engaged in the show that I feel like a part of the laughter and not just an observer. During a time when stress is high and my heart longs for my beloved, I am comforted knowing I can turn on my shows, have some laughs and, even if just for a short while, find relaxation.
Perhaps it is time we updated the usual list of stress reduction techniques to include watching TV. What do you think? What’s your favorite laughs-a-lot TV show?
Lisa White is a Marine wife and mother of two. She has been through three deployments and four moves in her eight years as a military wife. She has a Master’s degree in Health Education, but has spent the past five years being a stay-home mom and learning about life through deployments and mommyhood. She has a passion for writing and uses it as a way to share her experiences with other military wives in her blog, A Chance to Bloom. Her goal is to provide inspiration and encouragement for making the most of military life.