There are so many benefits to giving up TV for a year. Turning off the box is a complete life-changer.
Here on THE DAILY MEDITATION we revealed the sickening epidemic of internet and screen addiction.
And we shared some great tips to make Facebook healthier.
But TV is arguably even worse.
Just take a look at these shocking TV facts:
Don’t you agree it’s time to quit TV and maybe start doing one of these 10 healthy hobbies instead?
Here are the facts:
- TV time increases as we age
- Children 2 – 11 years old watch 24 hours of TV on average per week
- The average adult watched approximately 5 hours of TV per day
- Binge watching TV is linked with premature death. The more you watch the lower your lifespan.
- Every hour of TV reduces life expectancy by 22 minutes.
- Too much watching TV is linked with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and increased risk of cancer.
- Inactivity causes muscle atrophy
- Watching TV reduces gratitude as we constantly compare ourselves to celebrities, causing us to feel worse about ourselves.
- Watching TV actually causes people to make unhealthy choices with their diet
- Too much TV increases risk of social isolation
- Watching the news has a worse effect on the mind that the majority of other programming because it consistently shows the world in a negative light.
- In fact, watching the news has been scientifically proven to cause anxiety.
- We watch TV shows that confirm our personal beliefs and attitudes. Therefore, if you have negative beliefs, your TV viewing habits will continually reinforce them, making it harder for you to change.
It’s time to quit the TV and pick up a hobby instead.
That’s why I quit the TV during my mad rush to quit every single addiction.
The benefits of giving up on TV
You will not believe the benefits of giving up TV.
Let’s take a look.
1: Just turning that box off opens up hours every day
“I just don’t have the time,” people say while they’re sitting with their feet up watching Corrie (I’m English).
The most obvious reason for giving up TV is the fact that it will free up plenty of time.
In the UK, the average household spends four hours a day watching TV. This figure is roughly the same for the US and Canada. Sickening, isn’t it? We are literally wasting thousands of hours watching TV.
Four hours every day is the average. That’s 24 hours a week and (does maths quickly in head) around 1110 hours a year.
That’s a lot of time, and it’s time that could be spent much better, perhaps going to the gym or (if you’re like me) completing that novel that’s still sitting in your laptop uncompleted many years after you started it.
Ask yourself: What could you achieve with that spare time?
How much better would you feel, after one year, having spent that time doing something important rather than watching TV? Perhaps (given the theme and subject of this site) you could spend 1 hour a day meditating instead, and find relaxation and inner peace.
Or you could exercise an hours a day and at the end of it you would be fit and toned.
Or you could watch Homer say “Doh” and those “real” (fake) housewives doing… whatever they do.
What would you love to do with the time you waste watching TV? Leave a comment below.
2: Giving Up TV Reduces Stress And Anxiety.
Most people who watch TV watch the news at least once a day.
The news is one of the main sources of stress according to scientific research. The reason is because bad news sells. And because of that, news programs always make the world look like a horrible place.
Did you just think, “But the world is a horrible place?” If so, do you think that negative belief is caused by the news?
Yes, bad news sells. But do you really want to be told each and every day that the world is a place full of lies, wars, law suits and death? The latest news stories are all about hate groups. Hardly inspiring, is it? Comparatively little is said of good news, even though the world is, for the most part, a positive place.
Even if you don’t watch the news, you’re probably being fed bad news everyday via TV.
If you follow celebrities, you’ll notice that almost everything that’s said about celebrities is bad. You’ll be told of the sex scandals, the drugs and the alcohol, but you’re not often told of the good news, such as the fact that many celebrities donate millions to charity.
- If you do not want to give up TV completely, choose a source of good news, not bad news. Trust me, you’ll feel less stressed.
3: Watching TV damages your mind and reinforces negative beliefs
We all like to think that we have freedom of thought and that our thoughts and feelings are created of our own doing. This, however, is far from the reality for most people.
Your thoughts and opinions are largely shaped by other people and external sources of information.
If you spend a lot of time watching TV, you will unwillingly learn to adopt the beliefs and attitudes portrayed on TV. People who watch the news do quite genuinely come to believe that the world is a place of war and crime, because that’s what they are told everyday. And it simply isn’t the truth.
But what would happen if you give up TV for a year?
Spend less time watching TV and listening to celebrities, and more time in the real world talking to real people, and you’ll find that you are exposed to many new ways of thinking, many differing opinions. This will open your mind and enhance your neuroplasticity.
- If you do not want to give up TV completely, instead watch positive programs that create positive thoughts in your mind.
4: Turn off the TV and your imagination will flourish
As an actor and a writer myself I am very highly into my imagination and I can say, from first hand account, that when you spend too much time watching TV, you cripple your imagination.
“Imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions,” said Einstein. He also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Imagination is immensely important, and it’s a gift we are naturally given. Unfortunately, when we watch too much TV or movies, we stop using our imagination. This reduces those “Coming attractions” Einstein spoke of.
Use your own imagination and you will develop your mind and take more control of the way you view your own world.
“But I have no imagination”. Did you think that? If so you definitely need to give up TV for a year.
Your imagination is a lot more powerful than you realise.
May I prove that to you?
Do these Imagination Training Exercises. I promise you have more of an imagination than you give yourself credit for.
5: People who quit TV are healthier than the rest
If you only watch TV for around an hour a day then it wont have too detrimental an effect on your health.
However, if you watch TV for the average 5 hours a day the average person watches it for, it will be killing you. And binge watching TV is even worse.
You might effect your health in only small ways, for instance by putting on weight. Or you might effect your health seriously.
Sitting still for long periods of time has been shown to have many negative effect on health, from weakening your heart to creating stress and depression.
- If you don’t want to give up TV completely, watch TV for shorter periods of time and exercise in between.
The Effect Of TV On Your Mind And Life
Think about it like this. Consider two different people.
One person is completely obsessed with celebrity, TV and media. Such a person comes to believe, subconsciously, that they actually have some sort of relationship to the celebrities they are watching. They follow them on TMZ, they know their lives in and out, they talk about celebrities with friends. They have, subconsciously, been led to form a falsified relationship with a celebrity. And what do they get for this relationship? Absolutely nothing. Not only do they get nothing, they lose a lot and actively hurt themselves.
That sounds a little over the top, that they “actively hurt themselves,” but it is the truth. People who follow celebrities come to feel that they too should be living a celebrity lifestyle, they lose touch with their reality, becoming less appreciate of what they have, and they lose self esteem.
Now consider a person who never watches TV and couldn’t care less about celebrities.
Such a person only cares about real relationships, with people they actually know. They have the time to learn about the people around them They have the time to pay more interest to their friends and their families. Their relationships blossom because of this. They feel more connected to real people and they grow as a result.
The Best Thing about quitting the TV is this. . .
The best thing to do is not to give up TV completely unless you’re a superhero and you actually have the willpower to quit TV cold turkey.
Most people who try to give something up cold-turkey end up relapsing.
Instead, just try to cut down, maybe half your TV time.
And consider watching better quality TV. Switch from TMZ to documentaries, and watch a positive source of news.
I’ve written a great deal about using TV and other media healthily in my book Welcome To Silence: A Practical Guide To Mindfulness And Meditation. In the book you’ll lean everything you could ever want to know about meditation, and you’ll discover ways to use media within a Zen, or positive living, lifestyle.
Of course, you could always quit TV and, as an alternative to TV, start reading some inspiring blogs instead (or am I biased?).
I challenge you. Give up on TV for a year.
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