Did you know that reruns can be good for your brain? In one recent survey, it has been shown that watching old programming — programs that you have seen before — actually increases your ability to take on difficult tasks. When I first read about these findings, I was not surprised.
About six months ago, my wife and I were visiting our daughter and her husband, who live in Waterford, Connecticut. One evening, our son-in-law cranked up the television and asked what we wanted to watch. In our home, my wife and I contemplate which programming to watch by how hard the programming will strain our brains. Don’t laugh! We have come to realize that some programming requires a great deal of effort and concentration. Other programming is basically simple and is just for entertainment purposes.
When my wife said to our son-in-law, “Let’s watch something that we don’t have to think about,” he kind of laughed. He is a very smart guy and is highly educated, yet he didn’t understand the simplicity of what my wife said. The survey, which shows just how simple this type of thinking is, suggests that watching something we are familiar with does improve our minds. So it seems to validate our thinking: that watching something not requiring too much effort of thought does, in fact, help to relax your brain.
In the survey that was conducted, a group of folks were asked to keep a diary, which consisted of:
- A task that required a great deal of effort
- What type of media was consumed
- How the subject perceived their energy level or lack of energy
In what turned out to be a surprising result, researchers found that those who watched current television programming wrote a lot about their favorite shows. These people expended a great deal of energy and effort explaining the shows and why they liked them. Those who wished to relax and slow a bit watched old reruns of programs that seemed to relax their minds.
Watching old reruns is what we commonly referred to as vegging out, which my wife and I call watching a program that doesn’t require much use of one’s brain. The survey also showed that those who watched all programming were able to tackle tasks better than those who watched their favorite programs. The researchers also found that watching a new episode of your favorite television program for the first time did not provide the same benefit.
In my opinion, watching a familiar rerun is like slipping on a pair of old, comfortable shoes. It just fits right and feels good. In addition, research has proven that watching older television reruns does help one to relax and makes doing tasks later just a little easier.
What about you? Does watching reruns help you to relax? Please share your thoughts with us.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Lord Jerome