ACCESS-ABILITY ACCESS-ABILITY_Vol1_Issue4 - Page 52

to poorer functioning of our brains and bodies. Pediatricians have established a direct link between exposure to graphic and violent images, such as those contained in many video games and in popular news and medical coverage, and increased stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, decreased empathy, and feelings of hopelessness among their patients. Neuroscience shows that our brains function more effectively when we are happy and calm. We are more resilient, we sleep better, we are healthier both mentally and physically, we are kinder towards others, our Emotional IQ increases, and we learn better! The release of ?feel-good? hormones (e.g., serotonin, dopamine) helps our brains function better and is linked to our view of the world. Serotonin is released when we are kind to others (even something as simple as smiling), when we are on the receiving end of kindness, and when we witness acts of kindness. It is not surprising, then, that the opposite is also true. Just witnessing trauma on the news increases negative hormone release and negative feelings. Fortunately, it is easy to choose a more healthful media diet. We simply limit exposure to news that makes us feel bad and increase our exposure to news that makes us feel good. Good news is everywhere! Just search the internet for headlines such as ?people rescuing animals? or ?acts of kindness.? Search YouTube for inspiring videos designed to motivate and inspire children. News channels that concentrate on positive news stories are also popping up, including goodnewsnetwork.org, Happy News, OptimistWorld, and Gimundo.