How to Monitor What You Watch When You're Depressed

June 17, 2018 Martha Lueck

Knowing what to watch--and what not to watch when you're depressed is important. Read these tips to monitor what you're watching at HealthyPlace.

What should you watch when you're depressed? How about what you shouldn't watch? Have you ever watched a show or read something that made you feel offended, sad, or uncomfortable? That could be a warning sign that you are consuming messages that are toxic for your emotional health. Read this article for tips on how to monitor media consumption so you can figure out what not to watch when you're depressed.

Deciding What to Watch When You're Depressed

Remember that the Media Does Not Know You

What not to watch when you're depressed might be delivered straight to you from streaming services. For example, when you watch a show on Netflix, the website recommends other shows that might interest you. YouTube does the same thing with videos. You can easily view the recommended shows and/or videos or put them on your list of things to watch later (Binge-Watching Television While Coping with Depression).

The thing to keep in mind is that even if streaming services can track your taste in shows and movies, they do not ultimately know enough about you to tell you what is best for you. It is so easy to explore new websites, movies, and TV shows out of curiosity. The problem is, you never know how you will respond to a show emotionally. So it is important to proceed with caution.

Even Seemingly Light-hearted Comedies Can be Harmful

Everyone needs a good comedy sometimes, right? In most cases, humor seems harmless. But have you ever watched a show that touched on topics you struggled with? Maybe you struggled with a breakup, so you watched an episode of a romantic comedy in which the couple broke up. Perhaps you thought the breakup would make you feel less lonely because other people go through it. In the end, though, the show did not really distract you from sadness. It actually did the opposite. Sometimes the things we think are the best for us can actually be the worst simply because they subconsciously make us think about the worst.

Some Inspirational Speeches Might Not Be Helpful

Many people going through hard times turn to inspirational speeches, believing they are some of the best things to watch when you're depressed. The problem is that many speakers talk about how to be happy and list ways that sound so simple. They make it sound so easy to “cure” depression and find joy in life. Some speakers do not really know what depression is, yet they say that they do. Others undermine people’s problems, pointing out that they have personally been through worse. Insensitive language can be a huge issue. 

How Can You Decide What to Watch When You're Depressed?

First of all, let me be clear that you do not have to cut out everything I talked about. You can simply cut back on exposure to things that bother you when deciding what to watch when you're depressed. Here is a list of ways that might help you monitor your consumption.

  • Read reviews and watch interviews about TV shows before you watch them.
  • Research background about an author or public speaker before reading a book or listening to a speech.
  • Only view or read something new when you are in a good mood.
  • If something on TV starts to bother you, turn it off. You can go back to it later.
  • Ask a reliable friend about a product or movie. Choose a friend who knows you well and understands your mental health condition. Explain your concerns to receive constructive feedback.
  • Talk to a therapist or mentor about how something could be affecting your mood or perspective on life.

To learn about my experience with toxic media consumption and how I am monitoring what I watch when depressed, watch the video below.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2018, June 17). How to Monitor What You Watch When You're Depressed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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Lizanne Corbit
June, 18 2018 at 6:10 pm

This is such an important read! We very much live in an ever-connected, ever-plugged in society. While more and more people are being mindful of what they eat and drink, how they consume (all good!) most of us don't give much thought as to what we're watching, and how this effects us. Just like listening to music can have a big impact, positive or negative, what we watch can have a big impression. Sometimes having a list of go-to shows or movies that we know are gentle, supportive, uplifting can be good to have. Thanks for posting!

July, 3 2018 at 6:39 pm

Hi Lizanne,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about media consumption! You're right about us living in "an ever-connected, ever-plugged in society." Technology can be very useful, but there are times when it is best to detach.
Having go-to shows and movies is a great idea! :)

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