It is so easy to get into a groove of everyday living that often we do not realize the effect, or impact, that different sights and sounds around us are having on our emotional well-being. I would like to share with you an excerpt from one of Vicki Griffin’s books, Guilt-free Gourmet, pages 377–380 (Remnant Publications, 1999). The main title is Television& Music. The subtitles are real eye-catchers:
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As we have been studying various Christian lifestyle issues, we begin to see some interesting contrasts. The principles of living that are taught in the Bible tend to promote strength rather than sickness, order rather than chaos, genuine pleasure rather than artificial stimulation, and soundness of mind rather than depression and mood swings.
God’s prescription for leisure time is no different—He offers serenity instead of insanity, joy instead of jitters. “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).
Biblical counsel on how to live is so critical to health, happiness and salvation that we are admonished: “Receive My instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold” (Proverb 8:10).
A trip to the park, zoo, or museum—hobbies, crafts, reading, volunteer work, a picnic, building project, even chores—these kinds of recreational activities have a positive impact on the stress system, immune system and mood. They promote a healthy appetite, sound sleep, a sense of well-being and relieve tension.
That’s recreation—but much of today’s entertainment has far different effects. Unfortunately, the above-mentioned activities pale in comparison to America’s major pastime: watching television. Television—is it a harmless outlet for the harried, or an entertainment trap that ensnares and destroys?
TV ADs: The Automatic Income Reducer!
Television and movies seem to be a major pastime of both young and old. It is estimated that 99% of American households own at least one television. The average person spends more than seven hours a day watching TV—2,555 hours per year. Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar calls TV “the automatic income reducer” because of the non-productive, wasted time spent there!
The average child watches 31 hours of TV every week, which is 5,000 hours by the time they enter the first grade, and 19,000 hours by the time they finish high school. By the age of 16, a typical young person will have viewed 200,000 acts of violence, and seen 31 incidents of sex, violence and profanity per programming hour. …
TV: Gradual Brain Drain
According to a study conducted at Yale University, children who watch a lot of television are more aggressive than non-viewers, show decreased reading ability, lower levels of imagination, short attention spans and higher levels of restlessness and hyperactivity.
Watching violent television produces biological effects in the body. These effects include cardiovascular stress, suppression of the immune system, and elevated levels of three different stress hormones, especially cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels are associated with neural damage to the hippocampus area of the brain, and are implicated in poor memory, senility and chronic depression.
One study of 1,100 television-viewing children showed that watching “reality-based” programs for as little as two hours a day increased the incidence of aggression, stealing, bullying, temper tantrums, and impulsiveness. These characteristics increased over time.
Now For the Real News
An interesting study from London, England, showed that watching just 14 minutes of negative news significantly impacted anxiety and sadness levels in viewers. In addition, they were more likely to evaluate their own life problems in a catastrophic or disproportionately negative way, compared with non-viewers. Reading printed newspaper accounts, however, did not produce the same effect.
Music, Mind and Mood
Certain types of music also seem to reduce stress and enhance brain function. A study conducted by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California has confirmed that soothing Mozart sonatas and similar complex, highly structured music seem to stimulate cognitive and neural pathways, resulting in IQ scores as much as 10 points higher in test subjects.
Conversely, the harsh rhythms of rock and jazz interfere with abstract reasoning and can actually destroy delicate brain nerves. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University reported that students who listen to the most rock have the highest levels of anxiety, depression, and “sensation-seeking.”
Heavy metal and rap music is associated with increased incidence of behavior problems, drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, low grades and criminal arrests. When young David played his harp for the moody King Saul, he was “refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” I Samuel 16:23.
Rhythm and Reason
The Bible says: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.” Proverbs 20:12. We are accountable to God for the use of our sensory organs as well as our time. And right use brings blessings! God’s television and magazine guide can’t be beat!
You will find it in Psalm 101. It is not only worth reviewing—it’s worth living!
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We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made and we must take care of our mental, physical and spiritual life; otherwise, the devil will walk right in and destroy us mentally, physically and spiritually.