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Defying the Darkness: How watching professional wrestling improves mental health

By Merissa Spradling

Depression and anxiety distort reality in more ways than Chris Jericho knows holds. Outside of therapy and medication, watching professional wrestling is one of the main ways I keep those distortions at bay. I could (and have, and will again) spend hours sharing the good word of the squared circle’s restorative powers.

Wrestling serves as a loyal companion for many folks during their darkest times. It comforts us when we’ve lost loved ones. It cushions the sting during breakups. It boosts our mental health when our physical health is in crisis. Honestly, I have yet to find a situation that wrestling hasn’t made easier to process.

Whether it’s live-Tweeting weekly programming or joining friends and family for pay-per-view watch parties, watching wrestling provides a sense of community that can be sorely needed when our brains are being unkind. My favorite instance of this from recent memory was watching social media explode with positivity after Kofi Kingston won the title at Wrestlemania.

We’re lucky enough to live in a time where there’s wrestling to be watched every night of the week. This gives us the opportunity for what is probably wrestling’s most beneficial facet. It gives us something to look forward to. We can tune into our promotion of choice and let the outside world drop away. For two to three hours, we can let go of the day’s heaviness and let an athletic and charismatic cast of characters remind us that there is so much light beyond the darkness.

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