Student stress and the turn on the TV

From the outside, Joseph Cool is just your ordinary high schooler. But, in all actuality, he has his struggles. Through days of arguments with friends, pressure for his future and the importunate feeling of his senior year creeping in, it is a lot for one teen to handle. 

Cool tries to boost his GPA, a path that many students struggle with today.

Juggling all of his responsibilities and a social life in one go is quite a challenge.

“Everything has just been stacking up these past few weeks,” Cool said, “with drama in friendship, and stressing about what I’m going to do for the future.”

How does one in Cool’s situation deal with being pulled every which way? It has to do with coping. 

With modern entertainment, people often turn to television for comfort from anxiety. According to a survey, 81.8% of students have a comfort show or movie.

But what is a comfort show or movie? Well, due to the word “comfort”, it means what you think. It’s a piece of media that one consumes primarily when stressed, or sad. This piece of media can range from movies, to series, to even books or music. But the most common form is books or movies. Any media can be a comfort, but most prefer happy endings, compelling characters, and comedy.

“It’s got me going back through all the streaming services I have, and looking at all the shows I’ve watched,” Cool said. “Mostly, I like the humor and how relatable some of the characters are or how relatable the topic of the episode is.”

Others may have a feeling of a break, a vacation from their worries when they watch comfort media. Many feel a sensation of relaxation while watching.

“They’re all happy and heartfelt. They’re not sad,” senior Sidney Gipe said. “So, they kind of bring me a sense of joy—it’s not my life. It’s somebody else’s. So, I get to take a break from mine.”

Adults watch comfort media, too. According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of streaming subscriptions in total reached 1.1 billion during the pandemic.

“It’s like what helps us escape, or kind of decompress from things that we’re dealing with in the moment,” counselor Keila Kilgore said. “So, I think that’s an option to just be able to escape a little bit, in a way.”

With many buying into comfort movies, shows, songs, games, and more, it’s no wonder so many people spend hours diving into Netflix or Hulu. Many have personal favorites.

“For movies it definitely has to be ‘Forrest Gump,’ ‘The Longest Ride’ and ‘50 First Dates,’” Gipe said. For shows, she loves ‘Heartland.’

Others prefer cartoons, or even music-driven shows.

“I like the humor in ‘Gravity Falls’ it’s kind of a trip because I really got into the series,” Cool said. “‘Steven Universe’ is a good one, especially towards the later seasons. And ‘Rick and Morty’ because of the comedy.”

And even Kilgore has her favorites.

“My kind of shows that I would watch would be things that have to do with travel, or fixing things up. Maybe some shows that I might have watched as a kid that bring back some good memories.”

Whatever you prefer, from ‘Riverdale’ to ‘Saw,’ media can make a huge difference in people’s everyday lives, and provide a light at the end of a dark tunnel.