Being a fan works wonders for mental health, psychologists say
All those years drooling over celebrities weren't wasted!
LIFESTYLE Mental health
Stars come and go, but fandoms last forever. Whether you're a Deadhead, a Belieber, or another bug in the Beyhive, nearly everyone has experienced at least a slice of what it's like to fan over the same artist.
"Fandoms" are groups of people who love a specific entity of popular culture, be it an artist, TV show, movie, actor, or book series. While your parents, or you as a parent, might think of the time and energy used for these fandoms is wasted, it turns out the act of admiring and supporting something in conjunction with other people is beneficial for your mental, emotional, and social health.
According to NCBI, a weak sense of belonging is directly related to depression, and fandoms provide the very opposite. In uniting with other people over something greater than yourselves, you create a common ground and feel an entry-level relation at no cost. That alone is an enticing feeling in the world's current divisive state.
Dr. Laurel Steinberg, a psychotherapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University, spoke to Teen Vogue about how fandoms are a fantastic way of instantly connecting people, and also how that connection can help individuals define their own identities.
“Connecting with people over shared passions and interests is good for mental and emotional health because it helps to create a fraternity-like or family-like sense of security," Steinberg explains. "It's also generally fun to scheme and get excited about something with others, and gives them a subject to talk about that they know will always be well received.”
Fandoms have become especially prominent in recent history. In the wake of the attack at Ariana Grande's Manchester concert, the fandoms of stars like One Direction, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and more all came together to show support for the artist, creating viral symbols and hashtags to express their solidarity with Grande and her Arianators.
broken.— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.
Now more than ever it's important to pay attention to the power of teens when they band together for good, and to support the causes that bring people together, no matter how trivial they might seem.