Anxiety and Television

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Today, a woman who reported that she is pregnant posted a comment about the fact that her anxiety levels recently increased. To be more specific, she watched a television program about meteors and learned the likelihood that one of them could hit earth and wipe out life on this planet. She reported obsessively worrying about this happening and about the despair she feels about bringing a baby into the world at a time when such terrible thing can happen. Can you, the reader, relate to these fears? I can.

Yesterday, I watched a program about fault lines and the chances of New York City being destroyed by an earthquake. According to Chuck Scarborough, the veteran NBC news personality, the chances of a disaster in New York City are very high because the city sits along an ancient fault line. He reported this with a sense of urgency, criticizing political leaders for not acting to protect the city. Lots of scientific data were dramatically presented.

In fact, there are many more of these types of programs presented on channels that the public is made to believe present the opportunity for everyone to learn about history and science. For example, there are programs that teach about global warming and the dangers of hurricanes and tornadoes that are becoming more deadly day by day!!

Is it any wonder that so many of us walk around feeling anxious and depressed? The viewer is made to believe that civilization is about to end in the next day or two!!

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In case you think this is silly and that television is harmless, I invite you to do a Google search on the topic of anxiety and watching television! You will discover an entire list of research demonstrating the fact that the more time spent in front of the T.V. the greater the likelihood of experiencing anxiety, depression and suffering weight gain.

If you have small children or teenagers at home, the impact of television is equally and possibly more negative than for adults. Television watching has been implicated in causing poor concentration, ADHD and other types of behavior disorders in children.

Please do not misunderstand my comments here. I am not suggesting that television is an evil. Like most things, moderate use is the best policy. You know the saying, "Too much of a good thing......."

I urge everyone to reduce the amount of time in front of the television. Use the extra time to do such things as talking to your husbands and wives, to your children. In addition, engage in such activities as walking, jogging, swimming, reading, meditating and doing Yoga.

What are your experiences with television and moods? Your comments are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD.

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