Wind up a top, and it will spin on its own for minutes. Wind up a watch and it will keep going for hours. After the action/mystery/thriller movie is over your mind is still spinning. It may take hours for you to come back down to earth.
Ride a rollercoaster, and your heart will beat faster, not only while you are on it, but perhaps before in anticipation, and for a while afterwards. The same is true of our brain.
Consider unplugging for better mental health
Unplugging, that is, doing without television and cutting back on movies, or doing without, can result in better emotional and psychological stability. It can be a major factor in overcoming numerous mental health disorders, including depression.
Symptoms of depression that results from bipolar disorder can also more readily be reduced by doing without television for many persons. Developing alternative interests that are more mind-engaging and less passive, can result in strengthening the mind.
This suggestion can probably be considered for most mental health disorders, and as a means the family can implement for prevention.
TV Can Wind Up Our Brain - Rapid cuts and clips Can Overwhelm the Mind
There are a number of ways that TV and movies wind us up. First, in terms of fast-paced action movies, including many cartoon movies for children. Thriller movies may both stimulate our mind, but also leave us pondering the hidden mysteries for hours or days. The news and news magazine programs also capture our minds and focus. Scenes and graphic accounts of violence can wind up the springs of our minds.
Additionally, fast-paced television commercials, the “sound-byte", rapid clips, the MTV-style rapidly-changing fast-clipped scenes are stimulating to our minds. After the program is over, our minds may still be in high gear. We got a thrill, our mind was captured and focused, but in a way it is like taking an amphetamine, the drug wears off, and you need to take the drug again to get the same affect. How many of us have been unable to sleep at night after watching a couple of hours of stimulating television or movies?
Even children’s television programming, such as Sesame Street, has been purposely designed to capture the mind of the child, through rapidly changing scenes, MTV-style to a lesser degree. It is noted that it was Sesame Street around 1969, which introduced this style of television to children, and that since Sesame Street first aired around 1969, the speed of sequencing has doubled. This represents a serious mental assault on children’s minds, and because so many television programs have copied that style of screen-editing, children’s and teen’s minds are assaulted in a way that many cannot handle. It is a wonder that such a high percentage of children and young adults suffer with ADHD, depression and bipolar disorder. This can be similar for some adults as well.
Life Without Television: Cure for Depression? Maybe.
Psychologist Aric Sigman in the book, Remotely Controlled, How Television is Damaging Our Lives
and What We Can Do About It, finds a correlation between time spent watching television and depression. We need to remember that screen-time stimulation is artificial; what refined sugar is to the body in terms of stimulation, the television and movies are, in most cases, to the mind. It is a form of artificial stimulation, with little (intellectual) nutritive value, that can overly-stimulate, as well as contribute to depression.
Sometimes the feeling of depression
can ensue within one-half hour of watching television. This thought is corroborated by life coach and author Mel Robbins, in her book, Stop Saying Your Fine: Discover a More Powerful You, who comments on the depressive nature of television, with a noted depressive influence often within a half-hour of television viewing. It is noted by both authors, that part of the reason for that may be the sheer passive nature of watching television.
Our brains are often on a destabilizing ride of artificial stimulation that takes our emotions and minds on a psychological rollercoaster ride of by means of television, movies and music. Overstimulation, as well as the passivity of television can contribute to mental health problems, including depression.
When artificial stimulation from external sources combines with hours weekly or daily watching television, this can be a contributing factor towards both depression and/or mania.
What Life Without Television Means for Your Family
In the book, Living Without the Screen: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television
(Lea's Communication), sociologist Marina Kromar studies the lives of people who live without the television. Kromar herself gave up the television about 17 years ago, and states, "It's just something I don't want in the home — it's a perpetual annoyance, like a gnat," she said.
Statistics indicate that up to five-million people live without television for one reason or another in the United States. People who had voluntarily, or out of choice, relinquished television didn't report too many downsides. Most felt satisfied getting their news from newspapers and radio, and while some people said they felt less connected to pop culture. For those who don’t want to give up television, setting limits on screen time, that is television, movies and video games, seems like a reasonable effort towards better mental health.
In any case, this is recommending trying out doing without television for six months to a year, in the case of bipolar disorder self-help; spend more time reading, exercising, studying, take up art, learn to play a musical instrument, learn a new language, take a college course, even online. Subscribe to a major newspaper and news magazines to keep up with world events. See if it doesn’t result in some benefits in symptoms of bipolar disorder for yourself or others in your family.
Additionally, set limits on the number of movies you watch as well as the type of movies. If you are in the habit of watching several movies a week, cut it back to one a month. Ideally, cut it back to one or two movies a year, if movies are an essential part of your life. The idea behind this, is it is a six month, or preferably, one-year hiatus from the screen, to give your mind an opportunity to equilibrize, heal, and decompress from over-stimulation.
References for Life Without Television - Psychological Benefits
Moskowith, C. September 4, 2008. Out There: People Who Live Without TV
. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/2836-people-live-tv.html (off-site link)
Sigman, A. (2007). Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives
. New York: Ebury Press.
Robbins, M. (2011). Stop Saying You're Fine: Discover a More Powerful You. New York: Crown Archetype
Pages Related to Life Without Television
Book Excerpts and Synopsis
of Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives - and What We Can Do About It. 2007. Aric Sigman, Ph.D.
Psychology Book Review
- Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives and What We Can Do About It, by Aric Sigman
Book Synopsis - Living Without the Screen
: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television
Ideas to Help Children
Develop Skill and Interest in Art