How To Maintain a Healthy Outlook
OUR physical health is dependent to a large degree upon what we take into our body. If a person lives on a regular diet of junk food, his/her health will eventually suffer. This same principle applies to our mental health.
For example, you could liken the things we take into our mind to a type of mental food. Mental food? Yes, the information that we absorb from books, magazines, television shows, videos, video games, the Internet, and song lyrics can affect our thinking and our personality just as literal food affects our body. How so?
Former advertising executive Jerry Mander wrote regarding the impact that television has on our lives: "More than any other single effect, television places images in our brains." Those mental images, however, do much more than entertain us. The Family Therapy Networker magazine says: "The language, images, sounds, ideas, characters, situations, values, aesthetics of mass media become the stuff of our thoughts, feelings and imaginings."
Yes, whether we realize it or not, our thoughts and feelings can be subtly swayed by what we watch on television and by other forms of entertainment. And therein lies the danger. As Mander says, "we humans slowly turn into whatever images we carry in our minds."
Poison to the Brain
Many people who may carefully monitor their physical diet indiscriminately gobble up whatever mental food is served to them through the media. For example, have you ever heard someone say: "There's nothing good to watch on TV!" Some seem to be mesmerized, endlessly flipping through channels in the hope that something worthwhile will turn up. The thought of turning off the TV never crosses their mind!
In addition to consuming so much time, many shows feature themes that most would want to avoid. "Besides profanity," says arts writer Gary Koltookian, "controversial and sexual topics are making more appearances on screen today than in the past." Indeed, a recent study in the United States found that scenes with sexual references appear an average of 27 times per hour during prime-time viewing hours.
"Many children are unable to distinguish fact from fantasy in television programs"
One is left to wonder about the effect this has on people's thinking. In Japan one popular television drama captivated so many people that the nation's media said it provoked an "adultery boom." Furthermore, authors of the book Watching America say: "Today most forms of sexual behavior are . . . treated as legitimate choices of personal life-style."
Nevertheless, TV programs that tout sexual themes are only part of the problem. Graphic depictions of violence are also common. Of particular concern are the damaging effects that violent TV programs and movies can have on young, impressionable minds. "When young children see somebody shot, stabbed, raped, brutalized, degraded, or murdered on TV," says David Grossman, a retired army officer and expert on the psychology of killing, "to them it is as though it were actually happening." Commenting on this same problem, The Journal of the American Medical Association said: "Up through ages 3 and 4 years, many children are unable to distinguish fact from fantasy in television programs and remain unable to do so despite adult coaching." In other words, even though a parent may tell a child, 'Those people didn't really die; they were just pretending,' a child's mind still can't tell the difference. To a young child, TV violence is very real.
imitate the violence they
see on TV
Summing up the impact of "media violence," Time magazine said: "Few researchers bother any longer to dispute that bloodshed on TV and in the movies has an effect on the kids who witness it." What kind of effect does it have? "Decades of violent entertainment have succeeded in altering the public's perceptions and values," says movie critic Michael Medved. He adds: "It is hardly a positive development for a society when it loses its ability to feel shock." Little wonder that one writer said that taking a four-year-old to violent movies "is poison to [his] brain."
This, of course, does not mean that all television programs are bad. The same holds true for books, magazines, videos, computer games, and other forms of entertainment. Clearly, though, much that is called entertainment is inappropriate for those who desire to maintain a healthy mental outlook.
Choose Entertainment Wisely
Images transmitted to our mind through the eyes exert a powerful influence on our thoughts and actions. For example, if we were regularly to feed our mind on immoral entertainment, wouldn't we most likely become more immoral? If we watched killing everyday on TV, Movies and Video Games, wouldn't this influence a person to kill, at least at a subconscious level? Beware! Images DO influence our mind, more than most know.
Parents can help their children by
providing a variety of good reading
So, choose your entertainment wisely and watch your whole family develop a Healthy Mental Outlook. Ref: watchtower.org (pictures from watchtower.org)
For personal tips for your own family, ask theHealthFoodGuru.