Being a couch potato isn’t always such a bad thing. At least, that’s what a new study reported by may indicate. If you’re looking for a good mental boost in order to get you going, watching reruns of your favorite shows can give you just the inspiration you need.

According Jaye Derrick, PhD, research scientist at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions, watching reruns helps quicken the return of willpower and discipline--both of which are limited mental resources. As going through episodes you are familiar with requires little analytical thinking, the mind is given the chance to relax and even relate to characters on the screen. This helps improve your mood and revive the drive you’ve initially lost.

This conclusion was brought about by two experiments. The first had the participants separated into two groups–one group was asked to do a structured task that needed brain power, while the other did a less complicated exercise. Afterward, half of the participants were asked to write about their favorite TV show, while the other half was simply asked to list items in their room.

"I have found, for example, that favorite television shows can actually increase people's pro-social behavior. Specifically, after thinking about a favorite television show, people are more willing to forgive others, are more willing to help a stranger and are more willing to sacrifice for their romantic partner," Derrick explains.

So if you’re looking to relax, find something familiar and enjoy it. Just make sure that you don’t enjoy it so much that you forget the things that you need to do. You can also check out your fellow FNites’ tips on how to unwind.

(Photo by StarsApart via Flicker Creative Commons)

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