Anxiety And Television

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!!

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.

  • Cathy

    I live in a place where you rarely see people outside. I am guessing over 50% of the people are obese - breaks my heart to see the kids and wish that social services would consider requiring the parents of obese children to take classes in regard to diet and exercise - I consider it neglect when you let your kids veg out in front of the TV. The only thing most of these people can discuss is a television show and I swear they think it represents "real" life. I had a friend at work and one morning I heard that he was arrested for attempted armed robbery of a liquor store - he was young and I swear they see this stuff on TV and think it is cool - I was so shocked. I know for a fact that tv feeds the asocial personality and lets them draw in even further and that detachment from other humans makes them a danger to society. It serves as an escape from dealing with what they should deal with but at the same time, leaves them empty since they have no sense of accomplishment for all those wasted hours. Surely you have heard of people who write tv shows and seem to believe that the stuff is really happening since they have become so emotionly wrapped up in it. But, the recent shows regarding the changes the earth are disturbing mostly because you can see both religion and science coming together for the first time in history but for the most part, the people with whom I associate believe that this is a good thing. Look around you. But, since there isn't a lot you can do about the world and you actually don't know if you will even be alive at the end of the day, make the best of the time and sitting around on your pity pot won't improve your circumstances - the old "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die".