In the past decade new studies have been showing that the more violent media a person consumes, the lower the person’s overall level of happiness. At first I thought is was garbage, but I was highly biased. I would binge-watch the Saw movie series, read horror novels, and play gory video games. Hence, I figured it had nothing to do with the chronic depression I used to have because I did it for years. But I decided to temporarily quit it.
I swapped out my scary movies for documentaries and my horror novels for self-improvement ones. Very soon did I notice the benefits. My mood picked to a moderate degree. I wasn’t as pessimistic or dark-minded. I felt slightly more upbeat about the world, when normally I’m a very cynical person. I don’t know… I was just a lot happier. Plus, consuming media that was helpful in some way made me feel empowered about making major changes in my life. I firmly believe that all of these little improvements have to do with quitting violent media.
This is how research explains it. Numerous research studies have shown a positive correlation between the amount of violent television watched and levels of aggression in youth. In adults, it’s still kind of similar. In adults who are engrossed with violent media, their amygdala (“emotion center of brain”) shows activation on an MRI, revealing it’s triggering anxiety. This is because subconsciously, humans react to forms of violence with fear. Therefore, constant exposure to something negative can have harsh consequences.
Then of course, have constant exposure to any stimulus can cause desensitization. To be fair — I’m already a little jaded due to my past and also working a job handling emergencies. I don’t want to put even more exposure to violence on top of that to where I am desensitized to things I shouldn’t be. It’s a sad existence once a person gets that burned-out or jaded.
Quitting violent media wholly makes sense. At least, it does for me. When I was consuming violent media for most of the day it definitely contributed to my poor attitude and apathy. When anyone surrounds themselves with violence and sadness, it will affect them eventually. And when I replaced violent media with motivating stories, my mood improved to where my underlying depression wasn’t quite as intense.
This is just food for thought. Research only points to correlation, and also the field of research is relatively new because violent movie and video-games only recently garnered attention from the scientific community,