This is part of my Blog Post Series: How To Thrive As An Adult

Most evenings I watch a TV show while riding the exercise bike. I enjoy dramas and things with lots of action, but I stay away from horror or anything that adds too many marbles to my anxiety jar.

For example, a couple of years ago, I watched the Netflix show Ozark. It did an excellent job of creating tension in me, the viewer. Unfortunately, that tension did not leave at the end of each episode. Instead, it crawled inside me, built a nest in my chest, and corrupted my sleep. For ten nights, I watched an episode, went to bed, and endured stressful dreams, e.g., I’m back in college and have only two hours to complete a semester’s worth of physics homework.

More recently, a friend urged me to watch Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. So, one night, I got on the exercise bike, adjusted my headphones, and turned on the show. As I watched, I felt my body tighten as marbles fell plink, plink, plink into my jar. After 10 minutes, I turned it off and searched for a comedy to watch. I didn’t need another show filling my jar and messing with my sleep.

In contrast, watching comedies, like Parks and Recreation, decrease the number of marbles in my jar and make me feel better. Likewise, classic stories adapted to a movie or TV miniseries also make me feel better. Favorites include Bleak House (2005), Pride & Prejudice (2005), and Jane Eyre (2006).

Nowadays I’m more careful about what I watch because it stays with me, nestled in my psyche.

Be well, my friend.

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