During our break over the Summer, we finally discovered Netflix (for those who don’t know, Netflix is an internet provider for TV shows and movies). We know we are late to the party, but we simply had never prioritised watching TV series in our leisure time before. Plus, our old internet connection was poor and so I don’t think it would have coped with streaming shows. We have since changed providers (https://www.EATEL.com/residential/internet/ for anybody interested) and now we have joined the Netflix party. Whilst we are certainly enjoying this never-ending source of entertainment, it definitely comes with it’s perils, and we are equally enjoying observing it’s effects on our everyday life. Put it this way, it’s seriously addictive and it can very quickly turn into what we have termed, ‘Binge Watching Disorder’ if you’re not careful.

‘Binge Watching Disorder’ is characterised by a range of signs and symptoms, and from experience, can look something like this:

  1. A level of sheer excitement when you realise you have time to watch an episode;
  2. A feeling of utter content when you sit down on the couch and hit play;
  3. A touch of dread when you realise the episode might be ending soon;
  4. A significant disappointment when the episode ends;
  5. A deep yearning to watch another episode right away;
  6. A pang of guilt when you decide to just let it roll (quickly replaced by contentment once more);
  7. A shade of regret in the morning from your binge the night before;
  8. A sense of longing throughout the day to just go home and watch another episode;
  9. A subset of dreams containing characters or themes from the show you are watching;
  10. A portion of your day spent daydreaming and thinking about various aspects of the show.

According to a survey conducted by Netflix itself, 61% of TV streamers regularly engage in binge watching (viewing between two to six episodes of a show in one sitting). This starts to become a significant problem when we begin to neglect other activities or responsibilities in favour of our watching. The thing is, we live such busy lives already where time is such a precious commodity, that if there are healthier ways to re-charge and get centred (like meditating, exercising, or having a bath)…we should consider squeezing them in over another episode instead!

The key to managing your ‘Binge Watching Disorder’ is to bring a level of intentional awareness to your viewing. Here are three mindfulness tips to put into practice now:

  1. Consciously decide on how many episodes you are going to watch before you hit play;
  2. When you experience that deep yearning to just watch another episode, ask yourself how much happier it will ACTUALLY make you feel if you continue to watch (won’t you just be in the same boat in 30-45mins time?);
  3. As you feel the disappointment and upset setting in, treat them like any other unpleasant emotions passing through you – observe them, accept them, and then continue with whatever you were doing.