Remember those weekends when you somehow ended up having every second of both days planned when all you wanted to do was lie on your couch in your sweatpants? Well, good news! Now you can do just that and only that (unless you have kids or people to take care of but they all have to take naps at some point.)
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, people in most states are being encouraged to stay in their homes as much as possible. Luckily many of us have plenty of entertainment available to us at the press of a button. From lauded documentaries to mini-series (check out Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu) to some of the most classic films of all time like Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane. However, there is another genre of cinema that may actually be the best for your stress, which is most likely at an all-time high right now.
Believe it or not, Hallmark movies have been proven to reduce stress. Yes, those cheesy, formulaic TV movies that make you inexplicably yearn to go buy a card for someone at the end (just kidding, there are definitely subliminal messages in these films) may be the best for your stress. Pamela Rutledge, behavioral scientist, director of the Media Psychology Research Center and Media Psychology faculty at Fielding Graduate University, told NBC News, “The human brain loves patterns and the predictability is cognitively rewarding. Those predictable story arcs that draw on the standard patterns we recognize from fairytales offer comfort by presenting life as simple and moralistic.”
It is because their plots are so predictable that that makes them quite calming on your brain. You can leave the room for 20 minutes and come back and you will not be completely lost unlike, say, Westworld which is highly entertaining but cognitively exhausting (I still don’t understand who is a robot and why everyone wants to kill everyone.) Rutledge continued, “While few of us are going to switch places with a doppelgänger, save Christmas for ourselves or someone else, marry a prince/princess, fall for a person who turns out to be a billionaire or find true love in the span of an hour, [Hallmark movies] still allow us to experience the emotions associated with social validation, the yearning for connection, compassion and empathy. The movies provide simplistic solutions to all those stressors that the holidays can bring: family conflict, isolation or financial pressures.”
And clearly Hallmark is on this as they will be re-airing 27 of its “Countdown to Christmas” films starting on March 20. Because if any thing is going to make you feel better right now it is Candace Cameron-Bure hanging out in a place called Christmastown and meeting a handsome guy who may or may not be Santa’s son. We all need a little fantasy right now.