Sugar and Spice Advice … Television or music?


I am not anti-television, unless the show in question is filled with vulgar language, violence, or nudity. I do have a couple of favorite shows. I definitely enjoy music, classic rock, classical, etc. In light of my statements let me share some information with you that might get you thinking.

Since the 1950s, TV has been a national pastime. Do you know the average American spends over 4 hours a day watching TV. This is according to Nielsen reports. 4 hours a day? That’s a lot. Can you imagine what else you could enjoy or accomplish if you limited your TV time. Here is something else to think about. Many people consider TV an escape from daily stress, but research shows that TV actually raises stress levels rather than diminishing them? How so, you wonder?

Images on the screen can lead to a continual, low level “fight or flight” response. In the “fight or flight” mode, the body releases adrenaline leading to subtle tension throughout the body. Remember Hans Selye and his discover of prolong “fight or flight” time? Not good for the body and can lead to illness. Think about your reaction to what is on the screen. Let’s say you are watching a horror film, and you are sure that at any moment something scary is going to jump out at you. If you tuned in to your body at that moment, you would find that you are feeling some anxiety and your body is tense. TV bombards your senses with extreme scenarios that you can neither control nor escape. The result is an overstimulated mind in a sedentary body. Without any release of this stimulation the body can be subject to unnecessary wear and tear.

Try scaling back on the amount of TV you watch, thus reducing the impact on your body. Here are a couple of ideas:
1) Turn off the TV and get outside at least one night a week. Include the whole family. I know a family that sets up the volleyball net on the grass at the civic center and they play the game as a family. They have a lot of fun as well. I know. I have seen them as I am out walking Mr. Pete.
2) Put down the remote control. Narrow you favorite shows to 2-3 a week. Keep the TV off the rest of the time.
3) To help limit your exposure, avoid using the TV as background noise. Instead, listen to the radio or a CD.
This now brings us to some information on music.

Did you know that music can actually aid both brain and cardiovascular function? One study noted that participants had a better thinking performance when they listened to music while working out. A study done by the folks at the University of Maryland discovered that participants who listened to the music of their choice for 30 minutes showed an increase in blood flow equal to that found in people who were on drug therapy or did aerobic exercise. Very cool!

  • Play music in your home. Studies show that children who grown up in a home that plays music often do develop more neural pathways that increase their math and reading ability, as well as sowing more coordination.
  • You will sleep better according to a study conducted in Taiwan.
  • Music helps reduce symptoms of depression. Whether the person is making the music themselves or listening to the music of others doesn’t matter. Music can boost your sense of well-being.

It is true that most things aren’t bad for you in moderation, and that some things are downright good for you. Turn off the TV more and turn up the music. See what differences you notice with a small change in your relaxation habits.

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