Netflix and Chill Out: Using Media to Control Anxiety

You’re having a hard day. Maybe you didn’t ace that exam. Maybe you’re feeling a little overwhelmed balancing friends and school. Or maybe you’re facing bouts of anxiety, and it’s just a little hard to get through right now. 

Although big steps to combating mental health in the long run should include talking with licensed professionals or medication in some cases, there are small and simple ways to help fight off bad feelings in the moment. Some of those might include your favorite T.V. show, song or book. 

Coping mechanisms will be different for everyone, but here are a few suggestions to start with:   

What to Watch:

When I’m working through new and intense emotions that seem to be taking over everything, sometimes I just need to shut my brain off for a second. We all need a break from constant worrying, and for me, that means watching a show I’ve seen a million times that is still enjoyable.

“Friends” is that perfect balance. I’ve been watching reruns of the ‘90s sitcom since I was a kid, but Chandler’s sarcasm and Phoebe’s lightheartedness makes me laugh every time. It’s full of heart and comedy which is guaranteed to warm you up.  

“Adventure Time” (Hulu)
As one of the smartest, cleverest, most wholesome shows of our generation, “Adventure Time” is meant for so much more than cheering up. While it definitely requires a little more involvement than the other shows mentioned, it will transport you off of an anxiety-ridden couch and into the magical world of Ooo. 

“Adventure Time” is about friendship, love, and battling the strangest monsters you’ve never thought of before. While most might see it as a “kids show,” it is truly one of my favorite pieces of art to ever exist. 

What to Listen to: 

The Beatles
Maybe it’s just the nostalgia The Beatles bring me, but the sound of classics like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Lady Madonna” and “Eight Days a Week” bring me endless joy. The British boy band has a song for every mood, which means that every day can be one full of ‘60s rock. Whether you need a kick in your step, a song to cry to, or just some mood music, The Beatles has you covered. 

Calm App
Although not technically a song or artist, a very popular way of coping with anxiety includes anti-anxiety apps. My favorite on the list is Calm, which has breathing exercises, calming music and sleep stories. If stress and anxiety are overwhelming you at bedtime, Calm has ambient noise to fall asleep to as well as short stories that are focused on peace and serenity. This app is dedicated to combating anxiety in the moment as well as helping you relax in the long run. 

What to Read:

“Frog and Toad”
Yes, “Frog and Toad” is a children’s picture book series, but its simple wholesomeness is something that any adult can benefit from. Each short story revolves around a frog and toad that are best friends and go on adventures together. There is no more plot other than their friendship, which is pure magic. If you’re struggling with your own relationships, “Frog and Toad” offers adorable illustrations and witty dialogue, sure to put a smile on your face.  

“The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World”  by Haemin Sunim
Sunim’s anxiety-reducing book is centered around finding peace in life. As a Buddhist meditation teacher, Sunim focuses on mindfulness and well-being. Besides his advice for a better, less stressful life, the book also features illustrations to help the reader slow down and think. Not only will it teach readers to reduce anxiety in general, but it will also provide soothing literature in the moment. 

While reading and watching something fun isn’t a permanent fix to difficult feelings, it can help ease the tension when you need it. The next time your breathing is getting fast or your thoughts are racing, try reading a good book, watching your favorite childhood T.V. show or listening to a sleep story. Take a deep breath and know that it will be okay. 


Story by: Amanda Walton
Artwork by: Emma Sorensen