Hi-Def… High Stress

Since the 1950s, TV has been a national pastime — so much so that it now consumes over 4 hours a day from the average American, according to Nielsen reports. But even as broadcasts shift to hi-definition, you should be channel surfing less, not more. Although many people consider TV an escape from daily stress, research shows the boob tube actually raises stress levels rather than diminishing them.

As entertaining as images on the screen might be, they produce chemical responses in your brain that can induce the flight-or-fight tendency. From edgy crime dramas to supernatural thrillers to the evening news, the programs bombard your senses with extreme scenarios you can’t escape or confront. The result: an over-stimulated mind sitting in a sedentary body… the perfect antenna for higher stress frequency and intensity.

Scale back the signals with these troubleshooters:

Turn off the box and get outside at least 1 night a week. Make it a family affair.

Avoid using TV as background noise to help limit your exposure. Instead, listen to the radio or a CD.

Put down the remote control. Narrow your favorite shows to 2 or 3 a week and give them your attention; keep the TV off the rest of the time.

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