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Can TV Increase Your Stress Levels?

It’s mind-blowing to think about the multitude of animals that exist in this world.


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Can what we watch on TV actually affect our stress and anxiety levels? Let’s see about that. 

Remember, the brain has a very difficult time distinguishing between something real and a vivid thought and tends to react to that thought as if that thought is actually legitimately taking place. 

For instance, if you think about someone you love getting into a car accident, even though they’re standing right in front of you, completely safe, you’ll probably feel off like there’s a lump in the pit of your stomach. That’s because once again, your brain tends to react to a vivid thought as if that thought is actually taking place, the second you think about it. To illustrate how powerful the brain is, I want to demonstrate with a clear-cut example of how what we watch can affect how we feel. Let’s say, for example, you come across in one way or another, a real murder of a person on TV. If you stumble upon this video and happen to watch it, your brain most likely would command your adrenal glands to pump out cortisol and adrenaline viciously. Your heartbeat would go through the roof and you would sweat, tremble, and probably even become a little nauseous. If this was actually real, what you were watching was actually real. So why is this happening? Well, as you now know, what your five senses are exposed to can change your physiology, can change your mood, can change the way you feel either positively or negatively. 

For example, let’s say you’re watching a Hollywood action movie. You know what’s fake and you know there are absolutely no real scenes in the film. However, remember that your brain has a very difficult time distinguishing between something real and a vivid thought. So let’s say you come across the same sort of scene, a very graphic murder scene in a movie. Even though you know it’s not real, your brain can still trigger the release of adrenaline into your bloodstream from your adrenal glands. What are you watching on TV? Are you watching shows that will educate and inspire you? Or are you watching shows based on drama, abuse, and violence? Remember, the brain tends to react to a vivid thought as if that thought is actually taking place. So actually watching a violent scene can be much more impactful than merely thinking about it. 

Even though you know that what you’re watching on TV is fiction, the brain has a very difficult time distinguishing between something real and a vivid thought. Even on a minuscule level, this can affect you. So even if you think that watching this kind of negativity may not be affecting you because you can’t feel the immediate effects, don’t be fooled. Just like you may not feel instant negative effects of consuming junk food, it can still have a profound negative impact on your health. Monitor what you expose your senses to. To the best of your ability to surround yourself with positive people, positive situations and experiences that will educate, inspire, and motivate you to achieve what you want to achieve in life.


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Sarita D

After a successful career in the fin-tech sector, Sarita is now back to navigating life and stories in India. Passionate about food, mental health, and other social issues.

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