“So why do people keep on watching? The answer, by now, should be perfectly obvious: we love television because television brings us a world in which television does not exist. In fact, deep in their hearts, this is what the spuds crave most: a rich, new, participatory life.” – Barbara Ehrenreich
How much time do you spend in front of that rectangular box?
How many favourite T.V. shows do you have?
Are they adding value to your life or stealing it?
Have you ever really wondered about the impact TV has on your life?
How much TV time is unhealthy?
My TV Habit over the last 2 years is unhealthy.
A grand total of 865 hours in 2 years! This is not a healthy amount of TV time!
[Editors note] - I excuse The Big Bang Theory from the above list because it makes me laugh out loud. And because laughter is healthy, 20 minutes of laughter here and there is a good thing.
How much time do you have?
Yours will be unique to you, but below gives you a rough idea how much time I have.
So with only 28 hours a week free time, the T.V. time above means I have spent approximately 31 weeks watching T.V!
If it wasn’t for T.V. I could now be a qualified Yoga instructor
I have recently started a bucket list. All of the things I would like to do in life. One of the items on that list is to become a certified yoga instructor. The total time to do this is 660 hours. Instead of watching all of that TV I could now be a qualified yoga instructor. I would be healthier, more flexible, have met new and interesting people, and have a new skill that could make me a bit of extra cash if things get tough. I would also not have had to endure the pain and disappointment of that bloody awful ending in Lost!
But we all need a break from reality you cry!
Of course we do: if we aren’t living. But if life has focus and purpose, if you are enjoying quality time with loved ones, doing something that fills you with passion and you feel alive then why do you need a break from that? This is the big deception we have all bought into. An unconscious thinking habit!
Look at it this way. You are watching a movie. It has you engrossed. It is past your bedtime. But you continue to watch. Enthralled. You don’t feel like you need a break from that, do you? Why? Because it is engaging. Why can’t your life be engaging? It is time to snap out of it and be excited by your life and its possibilities. Make your life the movie.
3 ways to take charge of your T.V. habit
There are some questions you should ask yourself before continuing to allow T.V. to be the centre of your life:
1. Do I really need to watch this?
I see a need as something that either sustains your life or adds value to it. You need to eat. You need to sleep. You need to breathe. You need love and affection from others. Do you need to watch T.V?
Even if you spent only an hour a day doing something like the suggestions below, I guarantee you would feel better (and less guilty) than if you watched TV. You can take small steps towards your more engaging life:
- Learn about something you have always wanted to know more about
- Do those things around the house you have been putting off
- Talk or write to friends and family
- Learn Spanish because you are going on holiday to Spain next year
- Research one of your dreams
- Cook – rather than eating processed foods
- Do a budget
2. Am I going to feel better about myself after watching T.V. or by doing [insert action here]?
It is OK to escape sometimes. The thing is, the longer you spend escaping, the less time you have to change what you are escaping from!
If you are honest with yourself, you will know there are other things you wish you had done rather than stare at the TV. How often do you say, “I didn’t have the time” after spending time in front of the box?
Just asking this question and answering honestly has made a difference to my T.V. habit. Try It. See if it makes a difference to yours.
3. Am I looking after my future self by watching TV now?
Tomorrow, the next day, a week or a month later, are you more likely to thank yourself for watching that T.V. show, or for doing something that added value to your life. Something that maybe gave you less to escape from?
This is another question that has helped me change my habit. An hour or two here and there used as recharge time does help the future me. But I know the slave habit doesn’t.
Is TV Evil?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that TV should be banished to the depths of hell. All I am saying is that when you look back from your death-bed, do you want to say ‘I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time watching TV and done [insert something you always wanted to do] instead?’
Being selective in what you watch, avoiding the channel surfing, not staying up late to see the end of a bad movie (or worse – one that you have seen before), and being conscious of why you are watching the TV means you can get some enjoyment and R&R from it. Hey, you may learn some stuff too. I am not for throwing the baby out with the bath water. I just ask that you have a look at it. I did and it scared the bejesus out of me!
This is about the unconscious habits. Are we present or have we switched off? If you have asked the questions and considered the repercussions and consciously decide that yes, this is what I want to do, then fine. One last question though – are you really being honest with yourself?
I know it isn’t all as black and white as that. The numbers are not an exact science. But it makes me think about how I am using my time. And I am shocked. We don’t get TV time back. The hours have gone. Kaput! History!
How much time do you spend watching TV? What else would you like to do that you haven’t because you don’t have the time: your TV does? Leave a comment below with your views on your TV Habits.
And don’t forget to order your free weekly updates by subscribing here.
Photo – Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos