There is so much to watch on TV, Youtube, the web, Netflix, Amazon Prime and so on. Is this good or bad for your mind? That depends. How much time do you spend staring at a screen, other than your work?
Sometimes we watch a programme to ‘switch off’, for entertainment, to end the day and occupy our attention in a non-demanding way.
But if this becomes excessive it can be a way of avoiding uncomfortable feelings, such as loneliness, or ‘numbing out’ from issues that are upsetting us. We use alcohol in the same way. Antidepressants, too, can numb emotions.
In these days when ‘mindfulness’, as in meditation, is considered good, many are terrified of a single moment of nothing to do, read, watch, as exemplified by lines of people staring at their smart phone as they travel or wait for a train or bus.
Simply take a few minutes out to sit, go for a walk, meditate, listen to the sounds in your garden or street, be present, lets thoughts go by, feelings ebb and flow, before you dive into another evening of TV.
On the other hand, if you watch a film that stimulates thought, or a documentary that teaches you something share what you’ve learnt or thought about it with others. Discuss it. Give a friend a call. Ask them if they watched it and, if not, to give you a call when they have to get their take on it. Or maybe invite friends nearby to come round and watch a film. Film nights can be great fun. Have you discussed anything you watched this week?
How do you know what to watch? For example, have you ever watched ‘Maiden’, about the first all-girl crew that sailed around the world in the Whitbread Yacht race? Or ‘Searching for Sugarman? Or ‘Le Concert’ – a French-Russian film with humour, depth and great music. Or that Italian classic ‘Cinema Paradiso’? What’s your favourite film or show on TV? Why not share it on our COGNITION Friends Facebook group? Get a discussion going. This kind of interactive activity is good for your mind while becoming a couch potato is not.