Can Watching Friends Help Ease Your Anxiety? One Psychologist Says Yes

Getty Images
Getty Images

They’ll be there for you, more than you may have originally thought.

Marc Hekster, a clinical psychologist at London's The Summit Clinic, told Metro that watching Friends—and other sitcoms like it, which set up a problem and solve it in the span of 30 minutes or less—may help reduce anxiety. “Having worked for over a period of 20 years with those experiencing anxiety, I can conclude that among other factors, it is the repetitive and relational nature of programs such as Friends and [The] Big Bang Theory that will be doing the trick," he said.

For Hekster, part of the soothing nature of sitcoms is the lighthearted way in which characters deal with life’s uncertainties. He claims that watching Friends "is about an experience of repair, of watching the characters in the show repeatedly having worries, which then get repaired and soothed, usually in the context of other relationships in their lives.” In other words: While you may be stressing about work, money, or any number of other real-life issues that exist outside of your Netflix account, you can find solace watching Rachel deal with her own issues, with goofy hijinks and a '90s soundtrack thrown in.

The act of binge-watching is a form of escapism that has some downsides, though. “On the negative side," Hekster says, "none of it is very real, and how can life ever be so ... kind of perfect? It can’t.” Buying into this idealized version of the world may cause avid viewers to believe their own problems can be solved as easily as Phoebe's or Joey's—which is a highly unrealistic standard to hold reality to.

But you can have too much of a good thing. Some have reported that binge-watching any show can have a negative impact on your health. A 2018 survey of more than 2000 individuals prone to long bouts of television-watching concluded that zoning out in front of your TV could actually increase feelings of anxiety and depression. And as The Washington Post recently reported, the couch potato-like state most people assume when they plant themselves on the sofa can lead to poor lifestyle choices—like consuming unhealthy foods—and may throw their sleep schedules off-track.

“Electronic screens emit broad-spectrum light, including blue light,” Ronald Chervin, a sleep neurologist and director of Michigan Medicine’s Sleep Disorders Centers, told The Washington Post. "In addition to delaying the release of melatonin, which keeps you awake, the blue light can actually reset your circadian rhythms to a later schedule."

Hekster acknowledged that the therapeutic powers of a Friends marathon are in need of further study. “[While it's] a quick fix for milder forms of anxiety, those suffering with more severe anxiety may find less solace in such programs," he says.

[h/t Metro]

Waze Users Can Now Get Their Driving Directions from Cookie Monster

Gail Oskin, Getty Images for Children's Hospital Boston
Gail Oskin, Getty Images for Children's Hospital Boston

Navigation apps have made it easy to find our way to new or unfamiliar destinations, but they're not usually fun. If you’ve grown bored with robotic intonations, or if you have kids in the car to entertain, you may want to try the newest feature on Waze's turn-by-turn GPS traffic app: guidance from Cookie Monster.

The grammatically challenged Sesame Street star (“Me like cookies!”) is now available as the voice of Waze, the Google app that keeps drivers on course. According to Lifehacker writer Emily Price, the blue-furred creature can be activated by tapping the magnifying glass icon in the app and selecting “Voice and Sound” from the menu. Choosing “Waze Voice” will display a list of sound options, including Cookie Monster.

Waze rotates its selection of recognizable voices regularly. (Past options have included Mr. T and Liam Neeson.) Some voices only offer turn-by-turn directions, while others will speak street names, too. Waze may have opted for Cookie Monster to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street this year. In May, the app began directing users to a New York City street renamed in the show’s honor.

[h/t Lifehacker]

The 25 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Worldwide

Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Marvel Studios

Ever since Avengers: Endgame was announced, Hollywood insiders had no doubt it would be a box office smash. But few people could have predicted just how big of a dent the movie would make in its opening weekend alone. The latest MCU movie demolished all previous box office records by making a cool $1.2 billion in just its first few days in theaters.

It's the first film in cinema history to cross the billion-dollar mark in its opening weekend, and knocked its predecessor—Avengers: Infinity War—from the top spot in terms of opening weekends by almost double (Infinity War broke records a year ago when it made $640 million worldwide during its first weekend in theaters). After grossing $2 billion in record time, and knocking James Cameron's Titanic out of the number two spot of biggest blockbusters, Avengers: Endgame has now officially unseated yet another Cameron film, Avatar—which has held the number one spot for 10 years—to become the highest-grossing movie of all time.

  1. Avengers: Endgame (2019) // $2,790,200,000

  2. Avatar (2009) // $2,789,700,000

  3. Titanic (1997) // $2,187,500,000

  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) // $2,068,200,000

  5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) // $2,048,400,000

  6. Jurassic World (2015) // $1,671,700,000

  7. Marvel's The Avengers (2012) // $1,518,800,000

  8. Furious 7 (2015) // $1,516,000,000

  9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) // $1,405,400,000

  10. Black Panther (2018) // $1,346,900,000

  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) // $1,341,700,000

  12. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) // $1,332,500,000

  13. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) // $1,309,500,000

  14. Frozen (2017) // $1,276,500,000

  15. Beauty and the Beast (2017)// $1,263,500,000

  16. Incredibles 2 (2017) // $1,242,800,000

  17. The Fate of the Furious (2017) // $1,236,000,000

  18. Iron Man 3 (2013) // $1,214,800,000

  19. Minions (2015) // $1,159,400,000

  20. Captain America: Civil War (2016) // $1,153,300,000

  1. Aquaman (2018) // $1,148,000,000

  1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) // $1,123,800,000

  2. Captain Marvel (2019) // $1,120,100,000

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) // $1,119,900,000

  2. Skyfall (2012) // $1,108,600,000

Box office totals courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

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