Can Watching Television Trigger Anxiety?

Anxiety and television have been connected together. But the main concern is how and why?

It is highly unlikely that watching television can be the cause of an anxiety disorder. However, there might be a few exceptions. Few people tend to develop phobias and fears due to television. Generally, you will already have anxiety disorder and television makes it worse.

Can Watching Television Trigger Anxiety?

Can television be the cause of anxiety attack? Of course it can be. Television can be the cause of anxiety in a multiple number of ways, which include:

  • General Excitement: Experts have speculated that television excites the mind in an unusual way, which leads to anxiety. However, the fact is not entirely true, but it does seem possible to some extent. Television stimulates the neurons and their excitement leads to anxiety in an increased level. The actual cause is not yet determined, as there may be other reliable life experiences as well.
  • Lack of Activity: Inactivity is also a stern concern, and TV in some way or the other encourages it. Studies have shown that lack of exercise can cause more anxiety as the body needs to experience some sort of activity. This is necessary as the body has to function effectively. When the body does not get enough exercise, the anxiety is created and people rarely exercise while watching TV.
  • Stressful Programs: Stress is stress in whichever way it hits your brain. People have a tendency of watching various stressful programs, which involve reality shows, thrillers, dramas and other documentaries. When you are suffering from anxiety, you must fill in as many positive emotions as you can. Television shows rarely deliver positive emotions and this can trigger anxiety.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Television also leads to sleep deprivation. This is mainly because people tend to watch television for late night hours and do not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep often leads to the development of anxiety in some way or the other.

If you are concerned about television being a major contribution in triggering anxiety, then you are probably right. It can contribute to an increased level of anxiety or can trigger an anxiety attack. Think about how much your brain becomes active when you are waiting for the new episode of your favorite show. These instances are not necessarily stressful, but in some, it has a significant role-play in triggering the anxiety.

Television And Anxiety

Handling Anxiety While Watching Television:

In spite of its bad role-play, television can contribute positivity in the level of anxiety as well. The key is to control the way you watch television and when you watch it. In simple words:

  • Do not watch television until late night, which will make you sleep deprived.
  • Refrain from watching television when you have other chores to perform.
  • Do not watch any shows that are stressful or promote stress. Even though you find them funny, they often involve a lot of commotion and yelling.

Preferably, you must choose lighthearted programs that are not stressful or increase the level of tension in your brain. Watching television also contributes to background stimulation, so it can be preferable. Rather than watching the programs, consider keeping it on in the background. This can help you in focusing and render an audio-visual stimulation as well. Pay attention to focusing on the chore that you are doing and focus less on television.

One of the major issues with anxiety is that your mind tends to become your enemy. The key is to create a sort of mental distraction, which will help you in relaxing from the daily stresses. Television can be a form of mental distraction, which will help you in avoiding the anxiety. Try to choose those television shows that will keep you light hearted, fun and boost your morale levels as well.

A Connection Between Television And Anxiety

Some of those, who are suffering from Anxiety, say that they are okay when they watch television programs. Hence, they are skeptical when told that this communication medium causes the onset of Anxiety.

To start with, we have to look at the impact the TV has on our lifestyle. People are not as active as they used to be 100 years ago. When they are engaged with the television, they do not complete other tasks. They also reduce the hours of sleep in order to keep in touch with the latest programs. Hence, while we look at the Television as a normal activity, we ignore the indirect impact it causes to our health.

Next, we have to understand the psychology behind those who are dealing with anxiety. Any form of this disorder is not welcome. This is especially true when the body is flooded by happy thoughts and feelings when the person is anxious over some aspect. The combination of high stress and excitement at the same time is difficult to contain. However, it varies from person to person. It is important that the emotional and physical aspects of the body remain at a stable level.

Is Television Helpful or Harmful For Patients With Anxiety Disorder?

If the Television is used as a method for relaxation, it can help in reducing levels of anxiety. However, if we continue to let it affect other parts of our life, then the impact can be significant. In addition, if a person is suffering from anxiety, he or she should watch programs that are not high on drama, twists, and turns and filled with action and suspense. Also, they should exercise and keep themselves fit and healthy at all times so that the harmful effects of anxiety being triggered by watching television is reduced.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 5, 2019

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