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25 'Go-To' TV Shows to Watch When You're Anxious

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When you’re feeling anxious, sometimes all you want is a distraction from what you’re feeling. For many, this often means turning to a favorite TV show to feel a sense of comfort.

Maybe you find yourself watching a show from your childhood because the familiarity brings a smile to your face. Maybe you love a certain TV show because the relatable characters make you feel less alone and more understood. Or maybe you’re just craving a break from your reality and want to get lost in someone else’s storyline.

Whatever kind of TV show you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. We asked our Mighty community to share their “go-to” TV shows they watch when they are feeling anxious. Did your “go-to” make the list? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. “Friends”

“Usually ‘Friends’ because it has to be something I’ve seen before. I can’t take the anxiety of watching something without knowing what happens.” — Rosie F.

2. “Bob’s Burgers”

“It’s hilarious, and doesn’t make jokes that trigger me. I like cartoons in general as they are comforting to me, and this show caters to my sense of humor. I’ve seen all of the episodes several times now.” — Laura F.

3. “The Office”

“I usually watch ‘The Office.’ My boyfriend introduced me to Michael Scott and his antics, and whenever my boyfriend is gone, the show brings me a sense of comfort. The episodes are just so loving and sweet — makes me feel happy. Even the episodes where the characters are anxious. That show reminds me that feeling anxious isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s a part of life and others feel it too, even your favorite characters.” — Kylie D.

4. “The Great British Bake Off”

“[It] always helps take my mind off things. While there is a competitive aspect to the show, the contestants and judges are very encouraging and kind to each other and they cook in a tent in a beautiful field with sunshine and trees and flowers. Always makes me feel better (and hungry).” — Michaella B.

5. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

“It really never gets old to me. When I’m feeling particularly anxious and panicky, I watch my ‘Scooby gang’ and feel a little better.” — Dayna M.

6. “Supernatural”

“The show means a lot to me, because it shows you should always keep fighting no matter what happens. It always calms me down when I’m having a really rough anxiety attack, and I usually end up falling asleep by the second episode I watch.” — Melissa K.

7. “Gilmore Girls”

“The sarcastic humor is just the right type of sarcasm. The sort of sarcasm I need to make it through my day-to-day anxieties. And I have many fond memories of watching it with my closest friends. It makes me feel connected when I am isolating myself.” — Eileen D.

8. “Family Guy”

“‘Family Guy’ is my go-to comfort show. The simple and continuous humor keeps me distracted from any anxiety I’m feeling while managing to pull a laugh out of me.” — Melissa K.

9. “Grey’s Anatomy”

“Every character has their own twisted issues. Watching it tends to get my mind off everything about my life.” — Jen N.

10. “Planet Earth”

“Great distraction from my own issues and I’m able to focus on things so amazing and interesting I get through those anxious moments alone at home.” — Knowledge L.

11. “How I Met Your Mother”

“It’s funny and relatable. There are a lot of things you can pick up that will help you in ‘adulting,’ plus it’s funny. Sometimes the characters seem to speak for you. And it’s funny.” — Jane B.

12. “Bones”

“It’s not always super accurate scientifically, but I find I can relate a lot to some of the characters and the the use of logic and reasoning is something that can help me focus my brain and get back to thinking more logically. I’ve also watched it enough that I know most of the episodes super well that even just listening can help, I don’t have to watch.” — Paige L.

13. “The Golden Girls”

“‘The Golden Girls,’ hands down. Not only because the show is really funny and quotable, but in also realizing their characters are older and thus have had a lot of life experience in many things — and are still just living their lives to the fullest at their ages. You hope to grow up one day to be just like them.” — Alihanra G.

14. “Sherlock”

“Sherlock has always been the show I watch whenever I am anxious. I don’t exactly know why. But every time I watch, I just start feeling relaxed and their good old British humor makes me laugh.” — Aiyen M.

15. “Futurama”

“‘Futurama’ all the way! It’s feel good and funny but also has the real loving/tear-jerking moments that get me every single time.” — Valerie B.

16. “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

“It’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s visually intriguing. The contestants also tend to deal with issues of anxiety and how they encourage themselves and each other rubs off on me. It’s like a how-to on how to give yourself a pep talk.” — Mo A.

17. “The Big Bang Theory”

“It makes me laugh and not feel alone. This show has helped me through many hard times, so it means a lot to me.” — Veerie V.

18. “Parks and Recreation”

“I find the humor helps, a lot of it is relatable, and it just helps me calm down. I’ve watched it so many times that even if I just put it on and am not even paying attention, I feel better.” — Kassidy S.

19. “That 70’s Show”

“[It’s] my go-to when I’m feeling anxious. It has distracting bright colors and lots of smiles. It somehow pulls you in emotionally and you get attached to all the characters. It’s light-hearted and superficial. When you’re feeling so emotionally tight and borderline distraught, it’s really nice to escape by investing yourself into something so light and fun.” — Brooklynn N.

20. “Jane the Virgin”

“I love the light-hearted humor intertwined with the plot and drama. It also reminds me that through everything, family will always be there, even if they don’t agree with you. It’s really easy to get into the plot and become absorbed by it, without the story becoming overly heavy (other than a handful of moments).” — Natalie P.

21. “Grimm”

“When I️ am anxious I️ watch murder mystery shows. Recently I️ got into ‘Grimm.’ All of the unanswered questions during the show are then answered and help me cope with the fact that I️ don’t always have answers.” — Maggie B.

22. “Reign”

“Seeing Queen Mary of Scots and her ladies take on impossible challenges and watching them overcome it lets me know I can take on my problems as well. Even if they don’t make it (as real history tells), at least they never gave up and kept fighting until the end.” — Jennifer H.

23. “The O.C.”

“It reminds me of my high school days, when my biggest worry was deciding what to wear to the dance.” — Emily A.

24. “House Hunters”

“It is engaging enough without [me] having to focus. They repeat a lot so I won’t miss any thing if I zone out. But still kind of fun. It’s my go-to when I’m anxious at night.” — Jayla F.

25. “Rugrats”

“It’s everything about the 1990s that I remember being really cool and fun. I love the nostalgia and it calms me down.” — Shanna K.

What would you add?

Lead image via “Friends” and “Bob’s Burger’s” Facebook pages

Originally published: January 17, 2018
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