Monday, February 13, 2017

Don't Watch Junk Food

"Any activity that is enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming tends to prompt positive emotions. Depending on your interests, that may mean singing, gardening, dancing, reading an absorbing book, playing a sport, visiting a museum, attending a concert, or simply spending quiet, reflective time alone after an intense day of engaging with other people. The key, we have found, is making such activities priorities, and treating the time that you invest in them as sacrosanct. The point is not just that pleasure is its own reward, but more practically, that it is a critical ingredient in sustained performance. The depth or quality of emotional renewal is something else again. That depends on how absorbing, enriching and enlivening the activity turns out to be. Television, for example, is one of the primary means by which most people relax and recover. For the most part, however, watching television is the mental and emotional equivalent of eating junk food. It may provide a temporary form of recovery, but it is rarely nutritious and it is easy to consume too much. Researchers such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi have found that prolonged television watching is actually correlated with increased anxiety and low-level depression. Conversely, the richer and deeper the source of emotional recovery, the more we refill our reserves and the more resilient we become. Effective emotional renewal puts us in a position to perform more effectively, especially under pressure."