Curb Your Television Addiction

Television Addiction
Television Addiction

Research says that the average person spends about five hours a day watching television. This equals to 35 hours a week, which is almost equal to a full time job! (Assuming a 40 hour work week). It is also equal to about a quarter of our day. And if you remove the sleeping time of about 7 hours, it comes close to 30 percent of your waking day time! At 5 hours a day, you spend 1825 hours a year watching television, which is about 76 full days (two and a half months per year).

Since sleeping, washroom activities, eating, taking care of daily chores and other necessities are an essential part of life, there’s hardly anything you can do about the time you spend on them. But when we talk about television, it is time that you can actually get back, only if you choose to do so. By watching television you are getting lost in another world, which isn’t your own. You’re paying to get entertained by folks who are doing what they love to do and also making money as you watch them. Don’t you think you should stop and rather make some money yourself? You bet!

Let me ask you a question – Apart from entertainment, do you know why people really watch so much television? Because they consider it as an escape mechanism from their problems. They use it as a distraction and to keep themselves engaged, that fills an empty void in their life. They use it to fight boredom and to neglect responsibility for their lives and circumstances. Basically, they’re looking for instant gratification. Unfortunately, it is nothing but an illusion. Once the program is over you’ve back in reality and you find that nothing has changed, everything you wanted to avoid is still there. In fact, you are making it worse because of the time you have used up. For once, try comparing the shows you watch on television with something else, for example, reading a book. Ask yourself, “Which one has been more motivating and inspiring? Which one was responsible for adding more value to your life?”

I’m not saying that television is evil and it is always affecting your life negatively. Since I don’t know your TV addiction, you will have to make that judgment yourself. I also agree that there are some good programs that you should certainly watch. Programs that inform, educate and inspire you to achieve goals and improve your life, and which are empowering should certainly be on your watch list. It’s also OK to watch TV as an accompaniment to another activity, like cleaning, exercising, cutting vegetables, etc. News and current events / finance topics are also required watching at times. I am only against shows that don’t contribute any value and are unrealistic. I am concerned that what begins as an entertainment break for relaxing and chilling out, turns into an addiction which slowly and gradually steals our life away. We resort to it just because we show it as an excuse that we are bored and can’t think of anything better to do. It’s no different from tobacco or alcohol.

Why you should leave television addiction:

  1. The most important benefit you get by leaving television addiction is the time you save (as quantified earlier), that you can utilize in many other constructive and productive activities. These activities range from starting a side business, learning new skills, fulfilling hobbies, etc.
  2. Another benefit is that you save a bunch of money. Cable connection, electricity, and the wear and tear on the equipment, all add up to a substantial amount over time.
  3. You also sleep more soundly. Research has already proved that watching TV before bed is a bad idea as those who watch TV at night tend to sleep much later than those who don’t. This is probably because of the content or the light exposure.
  4. Television programs, especially some entertainment shows often create extremely glamorous images of life which are beyond the financial capabilities of most people. Watching them often creates an inferiority complex and guilt in the minds of viewers when they reflect on their own lives. Their self-worth goes down when they think that they cannot provide such luxuries to their own families. Sometimes this feeling even drives them to resort to crimes, gambling and other illegal fast money options which ultimately lands them in deeper trouble.
  5. Television burdens you with heavy bombardment of advertising messages which are forced upon you and are only designed to sell you stuff. In fact, they even work in concert with the programs that create a sense of guilt.
  6. Television is a major contributor to the obesity problems in the world. Most viewers are so involved watching programs, they don’t move a single muscle, forget walking or exercising. Their sedentary life style affects posture and energy levels, and leads to tremendous health issues, followed by excessive medical expenses.
  7. Leaving the television addiction will also free up the clutter in your brain so you can use it more constructively. You will stop wasting time by thinking about what will happen in the next episode, and instead of worrying about problems of fictional characters you will start solving your own problems.
  8. Successful people usually associate time spent on television with the opportunity cost – what are they missing out on, that they could be rather doing. They find more time to think and reflect on their own life and goals. It stimulates their imagination and creativity.
  9. TV addiction affects your beliefs. What you believe is a direct result of what you focus on, so your beliefs are heavily influenced by the shows you watch on television. Your beliefs shape your life, so if you’re not happy with how your life is now, your TV set could be one of the culprits.

I’ll reveal a secret – I was an addict too! I would sometimes watch TV from 9.00 p.m. after dinner till 3.00 a.m. in the morning. I hate to say it but to be honest, I have spent most of my early life watching television. And now I openly admit that leaving television addiction has been one of the largest contributing factors in increasing the quality of my life.

Action: You now have a choice in front of you. You can choose to continue living in an artificial world and fall into the instant gratification trap, eventually sabotaging yourself. Or, you can choose to utilize the additional 76 full 24 hour days per year you get by avoiding TV addiction, to pursue your own real life goals. To create the life you truly want and deserve. Think about it, what will you do?

Note: This article is part of a chapter of my upcoming book. If you wish to be one the first to know when I launch it, you can subscribe to my mailing list. I’ll keep you updated.

Samir Jhaveri

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