Five Mental Health Benefits of Fandoms
Fandoms. What better way for people with a shared passion to connect? Whether for a book, movie, sports team, or celebrity, fandoms are a powerful nexus of connection for millions of people. Being a huge book nerd who loves several fandoms, I was curious about the psychology of fandoms. Turns out there are actually mental health benefits to being part of a fandom. Here are a few:
Sense of Belonging – bonding with people who share a similar passion fosters self-esteem. When you are part of a “tribe”, you find a sense of identity and a family-like security which can help lower the chances of depression.
Self-Acceptance – you embrace aspects of yourself you see reflected in the character or person. Addressing social issues, such as gender identity, mental health struggles, and ethnic stereotypes, helps people see their own struggles not only as valid, but as relatable.
Empathy – fandoms are diverse, the members coming from different socioeconomic backgrounds, various religions, education levels, etc. This inclusion helps us see the world from different perspectives. Developing empathy bolsters our ability to cope with stressful situations.
Connection - fandoms create a collective link for people around the world who otherwise may never have met. “Fandom friendships” are unique in that we can not only express our devotion but have it celebrated by like-minded fans. Communities that honor self-expression help decrease negative self-talk and anxiety.
Mood Boosts – being part of a fandom is just plain fun. Sharing the excitement and anticipation over release dates, character arcs, or live events unites us with others. This creates positive feelings that enhance our overall mental health.
As a lover of fandoms, I was happy to learn of their positive effects on mental health, an area I’ve struggled with over the years. Fandoms have been a lifeline to me in difficult times, making me feel less alone. The mutual appreciation for any given fandom is a powerful and positive tie to others. To all my fellow fandom nerds, keep on proudly being you and, in the illustrious words of Ron Weasley, “Don’t let the muggles get you down.”
Have a favorite bookish fandom? Take the poll below or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org