Does Watching 'Oprah' Cause Stress?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, November 24, 2003.

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JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST:  In the Factor Original segment tonight, does Oprah cause stress?  Well, recent research found a surprising link between anxiety levels and watching Oprah Winfrey.

Bill recently spoke with Hale Dwoskin.  He's the author of [the book] The Sedona Method, who commissioned a stress study that found this link.


O'REILLY:  Mr. Dwoskin, why is Oprah and stress linked?  I mean how did that happen?

HALE DWOSKIN, THE SEDONA METHOD:  Well, actually, to launch my new book I did a study of the serenity level, the stress level of the United States.  We polled 1,015 households.  And we also asked the question are you an Oprah fan.  And what we found is that the Oprah (search) fans were 50 percent of the most stressed-out people in the United States.

O'REILLY:  Yes, but could that have socioeconomic implications rather than her program?

DWOSKIN:  Honestly, I'm not saying it has anything to do with her program.  There are three possibilities.  Obviously, it could have something to do with her program, but that's the least likely thing.  The other possibility is that simply people who are really stressed are going to her looking for an answer, looking to find a solution.

And then also Oprah is -- in her explorations and her programming is trying to get people more in touch with what's going on with themselves so they may have just been more in touch with their stress than the general population.

O'REILLY:  All right.  So they know more about their stress because Oprah is teaching them on her program.

DWOSKIN:  Right.  Right.  That's...

O'REILLY:  Do you watch The Oprah Winfrey Show (search)?  Do you watch it yourself?

DWOSKIN:  From time to time.  I don't watch it that often.

O'REILLY:  Because it's not a stress-inducing program.  I mean it's more of a...


O'REILLY:  ... more of a self-help program and an emotional, you know, let's bring on the stories that are unusual programs.  I knew the -- The Factor is a stress-inducing program, but Oprah is not.  I mean Oprah...

But I believe it may have to do with, you know, who her audience is, and, you know, people who are at home and, you know, for one reason or another, are feeling some tension in their lives and -- rather than her doing anything directly.

DWOSKIN:  I agree.  I honestly think that Oprah is trying to do good.  I do have certain things about the show that I disagree with.

The first thing is Oprah makes growth sound like it's hard work and you really have to suffer in order to make changes in your life, and what I found with the work that I do with The Sedona Method is that that isn't true.

You can actually learn to let go and change your life without as much drama and without as much struggle.  Of course, it doesn't make as good TV, but that's been my experience.

O'REILLY:  All right, but it -- listen, if you want to lose weight, for example, which is a constant theme of her program, all right, it takes...

DWOSKIN:  Absolutely.

O'REILLY:  ... discipline, and it's painful to lose the weight because you have to change all of your eating habits and your exercising habits and all of that.  It is not easy to do.

DWOSKIN:  No.  For most people, losing weight can be very difficult.  But the -- again, there are so many diet programs out there, and they're fueled by the fact that if you just try to change your behavior from the outside without changing how you feel, you stay -- keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Again, going back to what I discovered with my work, is that when people reach for the food, when they go binge, they go off their diet, it's because a feeling is motivating them.  And, also, any time someone reaches for food, it's because of a lot of shame or guilt, and that is also something that can be dealt with in very positive ways.

O'REILLY:  Yes, all right.  Thank you very much.  We appreciate it.

DWOSKIN:  Thank you.


KASICH:  Well, that's it for us today.  As always, we want to thank you for watching The Factor.

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