Giving Up TV For A Year Will Change Your Life

Turning off the box is a life-changer that can free up time and improve your health. In fact, even just stopping watching the news will massively benefit you.

Screen addiction is at an all-time high. Between our constant use of cellphones, our “Always On” society, and yes, TV, we spend an astronomical amount of time looking at a screen. In fact, statistics show that the average family spends more than seven hours and fifty minutes per week looking at a TV.

It’s not just about the time you spend watching TV, though. What matters far more is the effect that all this screen time has on our health. Focusing on television shows for too long significantly affects our health and wellbeing.

Thankfully we all have the freedom of choice to say no to the television. And if you think you can’t do it, read my story about how I quit… well… everything.

Why Quit TV?

*Why not do one of these top healthy hobbies.

1:  Effects on Life

Just consider these facts:

  • Children 2 – 11 years old watch 24 hours of TV on average per week
  • TV time increases as we age
  • The average adult watches approximately 5 hours of TV per day
  • Binge-watching TV is linked with premature death. The more you watch, the sooner you die.
  • 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 while watching television causes muscle atrophy
  • Watching TV reduces gratitude as we continually compare ourselves to celebrities, causing us to feel worse about ourselves.
  • Watching TV causes people to make unhealthy choices with their diet
  • Too much TV increases the risk of social isolation
  • Watching the news has a worse effect on the mind than the majority of other programs because it consistently shows the world in a negative light.
  • 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. 

2: Gives you more time

One of the most obvious advantages of saying no to TV is that you will have a lot more time.

“I just don’t have the time,” people say while they’re sitting with their feet up watching Corrie (I’m English).

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 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.

1110 hours.

Yes, just give up TV, and you will have a spare 1110 hours a year of free time.

That’s a lot of time, and it’s time that could be spent much better, perhaps by 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.

One way to find the motivation to quit television is by asking yourself what you could do with all that spare time.

Ask yourself: What could you achieve with your spare time?

How much better would you feel, after one year, having spent that time doing something meaningful rather than watching television? 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 hour 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?

3: Reduces anxiety and stress 

Have you ever considered stopping watching the news? Smart idea.

When you stop watching the news you will massively reduce your levels of stress and anxiety.

The news is one of the primary sources of stress according to scientific research. The reason is that bad news sells. And because of that, news programs always make the world look like a horrible place. We humans are psychologically drawn to negative stories, says the BBC.

Because of that, the news will always be biased towards the negative. It will always depict the world as a horrible place.

Did you just think, “But the world is a horrible place?” If so, do you think that your negative belief is caused by the news? What would happen if you stopped watching the news? Would your belief change? Would you start to see the world in a more positive light?

Yes, bad news sells. But do you want to be told every day that the world is a place full of lies, wars, lawsuits 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 every day 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 infrequently 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 altogether, stop watching news channels that are sensationalist. Choose a source of good news, not bad news. Trust me; you’ll feel less stressed.

4: Improve your perspective

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 views and opinions are partly shaped by other people and external sources of information. The media affects our perception of reality.

If you spend a lot of time watching TV, you will unwillingly learn to adopt the beliefs and attitudes portrayed on TV. 

Give up TV and spend more time in the real world talking to real people, and you’ll find that you are exposed to many new ways of thinking and many differing opinions. This will open your mind and enhance your neuroplasticity.

  • If you do not want to give up TV entirely, instead watch positive programs that create positive thoughts in your mind.

5:  Improves Your Imagination

As an actor and a writer, I value my imagination. From my personal experience, let me tell you that when you spend too much time watching television, 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 valuable, and it’s a gift we are all born with. Unfortunately, when we watch too much TV or movies, we stop using our imagination, and 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 the world.

6: Be healthier

Sitting still for prolonged periods has been shown to have many adverse effects on health, from weakening your heart to creating stress and depression. … you’re probably sitting down the whole time youre watching the tele right …? 

7: Watch the box less, use your mind more

Think about it like this. Consider two different people.

One person is completely obsessed with celebrity, television, and media. Such a person comes to believe, subconsciously, that they have some sort of relationship to the stars they are watching. They follow them on TMZ, they know their lives in and out, they talk about celebrities with friends. They have, subconsciously, formed a falsified relationship with celebrities. And what do they get for this relationship? Nothing. Not only do they get nothing, but they actively harm themselves.

That sounds a little over the top, that they “actively harm themselves,” but it is the truth. People who follow celebrities come to feel that they too should be living a celebrity lifestyle because that is what they see all day long. They lose touch with their reality, they become less appreciative of what they have, because what they have is less than what the people on the box have. 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 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.

If You Don’t Want To Quit TV, Cut Down Instead

The best thing to do is not to give up TV entirely unless you’re a superhero and you actually have the willpower to quit cold turkey (for help, read my guide to using meditation for addictions)

Most people who try to give something up cold-turkey end up relapsing.

Instead, just try to cut down by halving your TV time. Stop watching news channels that portray the world in a negative light. Start watching positive shows instead.


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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations.

1 comment

  1. I really got a lot of help reading about quitting TV. However I am a very addictive person and would never be able to just watch less TV. I’m turning in my cable box tomorrow and going cold turkey. Thank you so much for all your support !

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