Do I have any guilty TV pleasures?
Game of Thrones, Desperate Housewives or Orange is the New Black perhaps?
No. In fact, I’m simply guilty of having a TV addiction and watching TV for the sake of watching TV.
After a busy day, once dinner is done and Elliott is in bed, it’s almost like the couch and I are magnetized. It drags me in, I can’t pull away because the force is too strong. I plonk myself on the couch, put my feet up and will pretty much watch whatever is on the screen. It’s relaxing, it de-stresses. It’s a REALLY bad habit.
No matter how many times I’ve told myself how bad it is and realising how much time I’m actually wasting, it’s just like any other habit, I keep going back.
I’ve thought about how productive I could be, how many books I could have read, how much more I could be on top of my blog if I used the time to write and how many of the other things I’ve always wanted to do I could have already achieved. And when I think about it, well, it’s a bit depressing.
Yet even though I know the benefits and what I’m missing out on, I continue to get sucked into ‘the box’.
It’s scary to total up the number of hours I watch television a month. Even scarier is this statistic from Gretchin Reynolds.
“Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.”
Geez Louise! I think that’s just about enough to stop me.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one that loves to escape to the lounge room. Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Scientific American explain it beautifully in that television is an easy provision of relaxation and escape, it’s beneficial in limited doses. Yet when the habit interferes with the ability to grow, to learn new things, to lead to an active life, then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.
Right. Now I’m taking it seriously.
But how do we escape this habit, this TV addiction?
How to overcome TV addiction
Face the facts
Well firstly, just as I am doing, we need to face the facts and consider the fact that there is a problem. Just do the figures and then work out how much your life has been cut short and you’ll find that like me, you have a problem. Eeek.
Recognise the triggers
I’m going to admit that there are points throughout the day when I catch myself dreaming about curling up on the couch to watch TV. It’s these thoughts that need to be jumped on and turned around as a reminder not to go there.
Bit by bit
I’m not saying go cold turkey (if this is what you want to do, go for it), but you might want to try cutting out TV a little bit at a time. Let’s say you normally watch TV from 7.30 pm to 10 pm. Why not start off with only watching TV from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm and then move to only watching TV on certain days and see how you go.
Keep thinking about the impact on your life
There’s no doubt in my mind that I will keep thinking about that statistic from Gretchin Reynolds and how many minutes of my life I could potentially lose by watching television. I’m going to remind myself of what I’m missing, how it’s affecting my health, my stress levels, my ability to be organised and on top of work and life in general. It’s simply just not worth it, it’s time you won’t get back.
It’s going to be mighty hard if you don’t have anything else to fill the gap, but that’s easy, make something to do! As I mentioned earlier on in this piece, I know exactly what I’d do – I’d write, read or listen to podcasts. Why not start a hobby, start a blog, exercise, do some cleaning, sell unwanted items online…there are so many things you can do!
Another alternative, and this is spinning the perspective around a bit, is to start going to bed earlier to wake up earlier. There are many people that are more productive in the morning. I know I am!
Writing this article has really got me thinking. It’s been a bit of a wake-up call and I thank Kirsty from My Home Truths for the prompt “Guilty TV Pleasures” for I Must Confess otherwise I would have never embarked on this topic.
I don’t want to be years down the track looking back on how much of my life was wasted watching television, television that hasn’t really improved my life in any way except for perhaps giving me a tiny bit of short-term relaxation and entertainment value.
How do you feel about TV? Do you feel you watch too much?
Welcome to February everyone and thanks for coming! Link up one of your fave posts from the past week and share the comment love!