I shut my eyes and cover my ears during a lot of TV programming lately. My family has come to accept this part of me, but a few friends tease me about it. But, I ask them - am I really the strange one? It is almost impossible to turn on the television now without being barraged with negative imagery, characters and stories. The violence in the world appears to be at an all time high worldwide. It is difficult to keep up with the latest horrific event or act of violence. And, as far as the movies -- filmmakers leave nothing to our imagination. They want to fill in all the blanks.
As much as you would choose not to socialize or engage in conversation with someone that has dark or violent tendencies, why do we allow them in our home so often and more importantly in our minds via the television or the movies? I get the world is not a perfect place with lots of ugly, complicated struggles and to portray it realistically, artists and newscasters want to show the raw footage. I am a big follower of the news myself, but the effects over time of viewing it so often and so graphically, I think can be damaging.
Too much TV viewing can possibly even decrease our attention spans. Further, studies show it can make children more fearful, insensitive and maybe even more aggressive. That negativity just seeps in our psyche affecting our moods, the way we interact with others and our health -- all without us even realizing it.
How to Make Better TV and Movie Choices For Your HealthTake charge, protect yourself and those young minds being shaped each day in your family and put up some barriers to the destructiveness that can sometimes be so upfront on TV and at the movies. Here are a few ideas on how to do just that as well as maybe even decreasing your time in front of the TV in the first place:
It's your life. You owe it to yourself to create your life - not passively watching someone else's on TV hour after hour. If you decrease your television watching and work on your own development, you will be far more interesting than some other character on the TV. You have a lot to offer, so offer it.
No surfing. Choose your programming ahead of time. Don't watch TV just to fill your time or help you relax by viewing whatever happens to be showing. Get out the guide, plan ahead to see what you want to see that week and record it. Let your children choose as well (as long as you approve of the program). Recording programming and movies allows you to skip the commercials that carry negative messaging as well. And you are taking less time to watch TV because you have effectively deleted the commercials. Once the recording is over, turn it off. Don't switch to surfing.
Ask questions. Ask your children why they want to watch a particular show or movie. Does the program or movie contain characters that make good role models for them? Does it show effective problem solving? What does the story really say? What about you? Do the shows teach you something or feature characters that you find admirable or inspiring? Dig deep and make sure you are filling your mind and your children's minds with the positive side of life at least more than the negative.
Play music as a background noise instead. Don't keep the TV on all day playing in the background with that news story about the latest shooting repeating. You can stay up-to-date on the news but it does not need to be playing over and over. Besides, have you noticed the TV is playing now everywhere - airports, doctors waiting rooms, bars and restaurants, even the gas pump? We get enough of it already.
Get physically away from the TV. Get outside where you can't reach the remote. Engage in an outdoor activity and get in the real world and you will forget about the TV.
Unplug one day a week or month. Try to go "TV free" for 24 hours and see what you do! Read, go see a friend, call your cousins and aunts, spend time on a hobby, play cards with your family, develop a new interest. It may feel strange, but you may actually look forward to keeping if off sometimes and spending time with that new book instead.
Keep it off right before bedtime. I wrote about ideas for a bedtime routine here to help you sleep. Keeping the TV off close to bedtime (especially intense, violent programming) can help your mind relax so that you can catch the rest you need.
So, what are your thoughts on TV programming and movies lately? Do you find it affecting your mood in a positive or negative way? Would you care to share a TV program or movie you like and find inspiring or interesting?
photo credit: iStockphoto
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nainiewen/9687999498/">Laura Pereyra</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
Need a bit more?
- Fall is so perfect for time outside and off the couch! Get inspired by these links to the Great Outdoors!
- Prefer moving indoors? Unwind with this form of stretch and relaxation and get a great workout, too.