Health & Wellness Blog

    

Why Watching TV is Unhealthy (in More Ways Than One)

Health and TVTelevision sets are common household appliances in many homes. However, most users are unaware of the magnitude of negative health implications of TV.

Research information shows that people spend an average of 28 hours watching their favorite programs every week. On the contrary, many people do not discover associated health effects until it is late.

Watching TV can lead to physical and mental ailments (primarily due to inactivity and lack of engagement,) social isolation, and emotional swings. Watching TV can lead to either one or a group of these negative impacts. Let us discuss how each is associated to watching television.

TV Inhibits Physical Activity & Socialization

It is a globally accepted fact that physical activity has health benefits to people. Physical activities must not be entirely vigorous to give us health benefits. For instance, walking or jogging for an appreciable period can lead to good health.

Nevertheless, watching television especially for long hours separates people from physical activity. Such habits deny people from participating in common acts like walking around the room. If we collectively agree that physical activity boosts our health, then the lack of if equally deteriorates it. In addition, people do not have time develop their social life.

People will value TV programs more than socializing and making friends. For instance, people have favorite programs that they would never miss to watch. They develop addiction for such programs just like the case of hard drugs. They would not care about their neighbors' wellbeing for one second.

Children have a higher risk of developing ill health because of watching television. Research pinpoints watching TV as one of the causes of obesity in children. Therefore, parents and guardians should discourage family members from watching television without engaging into any physical activity.

TV's Effects on the Brain

There's no doubt that TV sales retailers have made a big push toward more interaction TV systems, such 3D TV's and HDTV. However, this level of engagement may not be in the best interest of the populations overall heatlh.

Scientists have found that watching television can be associated with depression. When speaking of depression, people should think a human mind. The brain functions based on its right and left sides. The left side controls logical thinking while the right side is responsible for our emotions.

Watching TV leads to much usage of the emotional side of the brain more than the left side. As a result, a person becomes more passive, gets easily distracted, and looks very bored. In addition, prolonged exposure to television programs that are full of violent scenes can lead to violence tendencies in man.

This is more pronounced in children since they learn from what they watch. Children will eventually develop violent behavior based on what they watch on TV. Furthermore, both adults and children risk low intelligence quotients because of an inactive left side of the brain. Children will develop learning disabilities or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while adults develop depression.

TV's Effects on Emotional Disorders

Watching TV has led many people to develop inferiority complex tendencies too. This is especially prevalent after watching supermodels that have zero bodies; sports people that own big houses and earn large salaries, some adverts that openly criticize your eating habit in favor another.

The result is that people suffer from low self-confidence, develop disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Such people may end up committing suicide just because the media makes them feel unaccepted by society.

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How Learning to Play the Piano Effects the Brain

Pianos Scientific evidence has proved that learning to play a musical instrument like the piano affects and even makes changes on an individual's brain.

Various research studies have shown that learning the piano (as well as other musical instruments) has an affect on the auditory cortex, a part of the brain that is responsible for the processing of sound.

According to the findings, pianists tend to show more brain activity on this part of the brain. Other studies have also shown that preschoolers with musical training exhibit larger brain responses on various sound recognition tests. Individuals with early childhood piano lessons tend to have enhanced motor and auditory skills. They also exhibit improved verbal ability as well as nonverbal reasoning. Such training enhances a person's acoustic responsiveness.

In musicians, the brain structure that is associated with auditory processing is larger in the left hemisphere and smaller in the right. They also have a thicker nerve-fiber tract between the left and the right hemisphere. This increases the speed of communication between the two hemispheres. Music stimulates both sides of the brain as well as the area that contains the memory and emotions

Piano Lessons and the Affect on Memory

Its been shown that undertaking piano lessons has an impact on a person's memory. A study by Agnes Chan of the University of Hongkong proved that those individuals who had received musical training before the age of 12 had a better memory when it came to the spoken words than those who had never received such training.

Therefore, piano lessons have a long a long-term effect on someone's verbal memory. It affects his/her attention and memory which in turn leads to better learning.

Neural Pathways and Neuroplasticity

A research conducted by Nina Kraus of Northwestern University showed that musical training has some effects on a person's nervous system. The training builds meaningful patterns that are important in learning. Active engagement with musical sounds enhances neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to change and even adapt as a result of training or experience.

Understanding music (especially learning to translate musical symbols into sounds like with piano lessons,) enhances the individual's ability to learn other things which share similar neuro pathways. Early musical training helps in strengthening connections between the neurons in the brain which leads to long-term development in certain parts of the brain.

Researchers probing the inner working of the brain have found neural firing patterns that are resemble musical patterns. This therefore suggests that music holds the key to higher brain functioning

Spatial-Temporal Function

A study in which children were given eight months of piano lessons in Atlanta proved that musical training improved spatial temporal reasoning. Children who take piano lessons tend to score higher in tests on general and spatial cognitive development. Pianos lessons can significantly reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

The best way to strengthen the eye-hand coordination and improve one's motor skills is through playing the piano. The children who take piano lessons learn a lot concerning dedication, discipline and the reward of hard work.

From all there findings, it is quite evident that piano lessons have so many to the brain. Besides benefiting the brain, the joy of making music is quite satisfying to most piano players.

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How Meditation Influences The Brain And How We Feel

Meditation BrainContrary to popular belief, mindful meditation is significantly more popular than many people may currently assume. Statistics that were gathered by the National Institute of Health, demonstrates that roughly 8% of people who live within the US or 18 million people have meditated at some point or another.

When you look at the fact that studies suggest that meditation can provide a wide range of benefits such as, enhanced memory retention rate and stress reduction, it comes as no surprise. Let's take a looked at some promising science supported data that highlights the ways in which meditation changes the brain.

 

While it may be true that an insurmountable amount of academic research have proven that mindful mediation has a profound effect on our emotional well-being, scientists have not been able to figure out precisely, what actually goes on, whenever people meditate and the effects it has on the brain. However, a Harvard neuroscientist by the name of Sara Lazar, has been categorized as being one of the leading researchers within this field. She is also the first individual to demonstrate that mediation leads to a variety of structural changes within the brain.

Cortical Thickening In The Brain

In 2005, her team was the first to demonstrate that long term meditation, facilitates cortical thicken within the areas of the brain that are associated with: interoception "awareness of the body's physiological state, sensory processing and attention as well."

Increased Gray Matter Concentration

In 2011, during a study that her team conducted which consisted of a variety of individuals who had no prior experience with mindful mediation, her team found that, after an 8 week period of practicing meditation, there was an increase in gray matter concentration within the portions of the brain, that were associated with: emotion regulation, perspective talking, self-referential processing and memory and learning processes as well.

Conclusion on Study

What her research suggests is that, the reason why meditation practitioners feel a higher sense of euphoria and tranquility, isn't based on the fact that they are taking the time to relax, during their mediation routine, the reason for their higher state of tranquility is due to the fact that a variety of changes in their brain structure occur, that facilitate the improvements of their lives that many meditation practitioners have always proclaimed.

Lazar proclaims that it's these changes in brain structure, that leads to changes in mental activity. To put things in retrospect, let's take a look at two prime examples of how changes in brain structure can lead to big changes in mental activity.

Emotional Strength

As mentioned before, in 2011 her team found that mediation lead to increased gray matter concentration in the areas of the brain that's responsible for emotion regulation. Said in simple terms, this change in brain structure will leave the individual more capable of regulating their emotions. Therefore, whenever a negative emotion manifest itself, the individual will be more capable of accepting and allowing that emotion to fade away as opposed to acting upon said emotion via impulsive behavior, self medication or stressful thoughts for example.

Self Awareness

As mentioned before, her team demonstrated back in 2005 that, long term mediation facilities cortical thickening in brain areas, that are associated with interception or awareness of the body's physiological state. This in essence means that mediation helps you to become more aware of the subtle emotions you may be experiencing as well as the subtle emotions of others.

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