Last night I started to watch ‘Road Rage’, a programme where they used candid video shots from drivers and cyclists to film where they’d been victims of road rage. Within two minutes I could feel my heart rate increasing and a feeling that ‘if I was there I’d have defended myself and arrested the guy’. So I immediately turned it over.
The production had already had the desired effect of making me angry about something I could do nothing about (in terms of what I was seeing) and/or making my imagination prepare my body for an event that was probably never going to happen.
Has anything like this happened to you? Another, less negative example – have you ever been watching your football team on TV and found yourself kicking the ball just at a crucial moment; you’re so involved in the event that you become part of it?
That’s what was happening with the Road Rage programme – having been involved in street fighting as a police officer I could see what I would do, so my body prepared to do it. I was in ‘fight or flight but probably fight’ mode, which means adrenalin and cortisol had already started flowing. These are the stress hormones, and if they flood your system without being needed then ill-health follows.
So if you find yourself getting angry at something on a TV, something about which you can do nothing (certainly in the moment), then turn it off.