Studies show that being part of an intense fan community affects your health in an unexpected way

If you’re familiar with the internet at all (and let’s face it, you’re probably as obsessed as we are), then you’ve almost certainly heard the term “fandom.” You might even be part of a fandom community yourself.

And that’s apparently a very good thing, because studies show that fandoms are amazing for mental health.

In case you don’t know, a fandom is any group of people who love and are passionate about the same thing — usually a TV show, book, celebrity, or band. Think Justin’s Beliebers, Beyoncé’s Beyhive, or Harry Potter. There’s no denying fandoms have become a staple in modern-day pop culture. Fandoms bring people across the world together and unite them based on the things they love most — so it makes sense that they’re good for us.

And fandoms go beyond “teenage obsession.” They are powerful and important, and positively impact your overall health.

We all just want to belong, right? Research shows that a weak sense of belonging is linked to depression. Finding others who are equally passionate about the things you are passionate about and finding your place within that community can help when it comes to navigating other more challenging areas of life. Basically, the world can sometimes feel lonely, and finding your tribe provides a blanket of warmth and security.

While speaking to Teen Vogue, Dr. Laurel Steinberg, a psychotherapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University, said,

"Belonging to a fandom group helps adolescents connect to other like-minded youths on social media throughout the year, as well as at concert events. Feeling like you are part of a group can help one define his/her identity and give a sense of purpose to what might be an otherwise routine lifestyle."

She went on to say, “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. 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.”

So next time someone teases you for being “totally obsessed” with your favorite TV show or musician, remember that it’s actually super healthy. You do you.

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