Don't Touch That Dial

According to a report by Neilson, the average American spends 34 hours a week watching TV! Yes, you read that right! Shocking, isn’t it? That’s almost the same amount of time we spend working and is equal to 20% of your life spent watching TV. Some would argue that it is a great way to “check out” at the end of a crazy day, that it’s educational or that it’s great entertainment, but is it really benefitting your life? It’s time to take a look. Here are some reasons to give up (or at least reduce) your use of the “Telly”.

  • When we watch TV, we are not as active as we should be. As Americas, we are a very sedentary society; many people sit all day at work and then come home and watch the tube. TV gives us a reason to stop being active and productive. We are spending 30% of our time sleeping and then another 20% watching TV. That is 50% of our time being inactive. Turn that TV off and go for a walk or dance around your house-something…anything that gets you moving.
  • When we watch TV, we tend to eat more food. Many people often come home from work and eat dinner in front of the TV. When you are distracted while eating, you are usually not as satisfied and it’s common to crave something saltier or sweeter. This often translates to something that is not a healthy choice or eating more than we really want to or need to eat. Also, food commercials are designed to trigger our hunger impulses that cause us to crave food. Start eating dinner at your dining room table instead of while watching TV and when you are watching make sure to fast forward through those commercials for food.
  • When we watch TV, we are disconnected from the people in our lives. When we watch TV we are naturally paying attention to what is on the screen and not the people around us. We are not interacting with our children, partners or our friends. We are neglecting that part of us that needs to connect with others. Our social interactions impact our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
  • When we watch TV, we encounter a lot of negative programming. So many shows are about death, destruction, tragedy, drama, sadness, shaming, competition and comparing. Not that we should bury our heads in the sand, but do we have to voluntarily expose ourselves to so much negativity? Yes, there are some “feel good” shows out there, but the majority is negative. They make us feel sadness, guilt, shame, fear, anger, inadequate and unworthy. If it makes you feel bad wouldn’t you be better off doing something creative and life affirming?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should completely cut TV out of your life (unless you want to of course). But why not think about limiting it? Maybe you want to only watch on weekends or if you watch a lot, maybe you start off by lowering it a few hours a week. Take inventory of what you do watch and decide what you can do without and better yet, what you can do instead! By doing this, you will find yourself feeling more positive, more energetic, healthier and more productive. Besides, what do you have to lose?

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