Many health columns focus on what we put into our bodies to keep a healthy lifestyle, but how many outlets discuss what we’re putting into our minds through modern film and streaming services? The human brain craves intelligent, interesting, and arresting content. In the last century, however, what we consume in regard to media has seriously devolved. Who doesn’t remember the joys of youth following the adventures of The Hardy Boys and the thrilling mysteries in Agatha Christie novels? How about the early shows in black and white depicting brave men virtuously saving the maiden from the clutches of mustache-twirling villains? Surely no one can disagree that the media, as of late, has taken a dark and sinister turn.
How Does the Entertainment Industry Affect Mental Health?
In 2019, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one out of every five adults experience or will experience mental health struggle with mental illness which is roughly 47.6 million. It is projected that for those working in the entertainment industry — actors, musicians, stage production, roadies — are approximately three times more likely to struggle with mental health challenges. Additionally, there is a disproportionate struggle with substance misuse within this population.
We are not utopians, nor do we shy away from serious and mature media content. However, trash does beget trash. Psychologists have done studies regarding the subject matter and the delivery systems of modern programming. There are growing concerns that long-form television cuts into healthy self-care routines. Some professionals have even noted that becoming ‘obsessed’ with certain shows allows one’s mind to relive the more disturbing scenes from the program during an average day, affecting mood and even relationships with others.
Health doesn’t just begin and end in the digestive system. This especially applies to our children, who are less desensitized than adults. There are plenty of options out there, like on a menu at a restaurant. We cannot rely on ‘fast food’ for the nutrients we need. Thoughtful choices in all areas of life must be made to support a truly healthy lifestyle.
Take the show “Yellowstone” with Kevin Costner, who plays family man and rancher, John Dutton, trying to keep the traditions of his family in an ever-changing world. Yes, the show can be brutal (isn’t life at times?). But there’s an essential righteousness that we as an audience can follow the trail along with Dutton. Conversely, take a show like “Dexter”. Our protagonist is still a killer, yet due to the creative persuasion of the writers, the audience sees him as the anti-hero. Mostly, it’s the grisly scenes of murder and vengeance that take the front row seats in our minds.
How Do You Have a Healthy Media Balance?
There is such a thing as a healthy balance with media. Blocking out your day, prioritizing what really matters, and not self medicating through detaching from reality are all ways to help have this healthy balance with entertainment and media. In addition, with a rise in conservative media channels like what the Daily Wire is striving for with their streaming platform, it is becoming easier and easier to not only have that healthy balance but have uplifting, inspiring content that is not part of a woke agenda which is only meant to divide and drain us.
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