Netflix is Bad for Your Mental Health

To save your mental health, reconsider your Netflix subscription. A new “true crime” Netflix show is, unfortunately, very popular. And the Netflix recommendation engine will relentlessly promote their most popular shows. If you give in and watch an episode, your mental health will worsen.

Dark and unpleasant content affects everyone, but those who have suffered trauma are affected most. Fictional crime is bad enough, but “true crime” is based on things that actually happened. That makes these shows even harder to shake off.

The painful problem is that most people with traumatic experiences from long ago think that time has healed them. It doesn’t. Time allows the brain to push the memory into the background, but the body still remembers. That’s why some things hit you surprisingly hard. Stay away from “true crime.”

Break the Loop

Winter will last another six weeks, according to Punxsutawney Phil. Phil is a weather-predicting groundhog, and you might know him from his role in the 1990s comedy Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character is stuck in a time loop, experiencing Groundhog Day (Feb 2nd) over and over.

Are you also experiencing what feels like the same day over and over? This is typical human condition, and it has become more acute during pandemic lockdowns. But you don’t have to accept it. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character eventually breaks out of the loop. You can, too.

The best way to break the loop is to learn something new. If you work on a new skill, a new language, or a hobby every day, each day builds on the skills and knowledge from the day before. Get a learning project going if you don’t have one already.

Schedule Time for Yourself

The weekend is a 64-hour block of time you have to yourself. Many people spend the weekend mostly catching up on sleep and watching TV, but you should carve out a little portion to improve your life. You might do something for your health, like taking a long walk, or preparing some home-cooked meals for next week. You might do something for your mind by reading an inspiring book, working to improve your skill at a hobby, or meditating.

Take out your calendar and schedule a small block of time for self improvement. When you are done with the activity you scheduled, immediately schedule another block of time for next weekend. When you have just enjoyed the experience of spending time on something uplifting, you might even want schedule a little more time for next weekend.

Spend Less Time on Your Phone

Are you aware of how you are spending your time? Your phone probably has some kind of “screen time” report – find it and look at how much you are using your phone and which apps.

If you are not happy with the amount of time you spend with your phone in hand, tell yourself you will reduce it slightly this week. Any number lower than the one for last week counts as a success. Simply stating a goal to yourself focuses your attention and affects your behavior. Try it this week and check your statistics next Monday. You’ll probably be surprised.

Spend Your Time Wisely

A shiny new phone doesn’t improve your life. But new information can.

The time you spend reading about and thinking about things is time you cannot spend on important things, like good books, inspiring movies, or simply reflecting on your life.

Take a moment now to think about how you spend your time. Can you spend it just a little better this week than last?