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8 shows to watch on Netflix if you want an instant mood boost


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Photo: Stocksy/Peter Bernik
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Meditating, drinking adaptogenic elixirs, and going for a run can all bring your dopamine levels up a couple notches. But sometimes it’s nice to do something relatively mindless—not to mention effortless (sorry, burpees)—for the same grin-inducing effect.

Which might be why the Netflix-and-chill phenomenon has morphed into a wellness strategy (even Emma Watson is down with it). If you’ve ever had a crappy day that’s been salvaged by 30 minutes of screen time, you know the power that the streaming platform wields.

You also probably know what it’s like to get lost in what-should-I-watch limbo. To save you from getting stressed out from the endless options, here are eight shows that will instantly boost your mood—whether you’re into goosebump-inducing thrillers or classic sitcoms.

Just sit back in your best PJs—perhaps with some wine (antioxidants FTW) and healthy popcorn—and reap the stress-reducing benefits of quality (binge-worthy) television.

Keep reading for the must-watch mood-boosting TV series you can start streaming right now.

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Gif: Tumblr/ElliotAldersons

For an antidote to your dating life: Lovesick

Whether you’re happily in an LTR on texting terms with a new Tinder match, Lovesick is a charming reminder that the dating scene sucks (sorry). Whether you relate to Dylan, who falls for women in, like, 30 seconds flat, or a (closeted) romantic like Luke, you’ll relate in some sort of way—love is a universal language, after all.

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To imagine a more awesome workplace: Parks and Recreation

Watching Leslie Knope try to achieve her lofty goals in a less-than-lofty work environment will make you feel…well, better about your coworkers. After all, every office has a Jerry/Garry/Larry Gergich.

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For serious LOLs: Arrested Development

The more you watch it, the more jokes you’ll catch. From witty wordplay—the money’s in the banana stand!—to insane family antics (hello, chicken dance), it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to guffaw while bingeing on this show.

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To live out your “dream mom” fantasies: Gilmore Girls

Though the sitcom wrapped in 2007, it’s still a pleasure to sit back and enjoy the rapid-fire, snarky banter between the epitome of cool (or unhealthy?) mother-daughter duos, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore—not to mention the eye candy that is Jess Mariano (AKA actor-slash-push-up guru Milo Ventimiglia).

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Gif: Netflix

For meal-prep inspo: Chef’s Table

They say cooking is therapeutic, but watching it can be just as relaxing. There’s just something inherently stress-reducing about watching people who can do things really well. Just be warned: The documentary-style series will probably put your (healthy) snack spread to shame.

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Gif: Netflix

To transport you to a totally different world: The OA

If you’re into sci-fi and fantasy, The OA is one of the most distinctive story lines out there. From the second it starts (with a “death” that isn’t), it’s easy to get hooked. And once you get to the “dance moves” (not a spoiler, promise) you may have some new, slightly weird workout inspo, too.

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For TV comfort food: Friends

You may have seen every episode at least a dozen times, but there’s no denying that Friends is the television equivalent of (healthy) mac and cheese. Whether you’re letting it play in the background while you declutter or you’re fully paying attention (yet again), seeing Rachel and Ross’ relationship play out somehow never gets old.

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For major empowerment vibes: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Recharging before your next march? Watch women literally kick ass with this teen-centric, adult-approved dramedy. And despite the considerable gore, seeing the bad-guy vampires burst into dust is strangely cathartic.

Other ways to boost your mood: Get major hits of happiness from your workouts, or check out these 3 simple tips from the world’s oldest yoga teacher.