Say “No” to Television: Why TV is Your Worst Habit


Creative Commons License photo credit: Loving Earth

Television has become like sleep; you just can’t do without it. Every day hundreds of millions of people around the world sit down and spend time watching their favorite shows. In fact, people love TV so much they might even spend a few hours watching programs that they don’t even like! No where else does this happen. No body goes to a baseball game if they hate baseball. But people will watch bad TV just because they love TV.

In this post I want to show you why TV is your worst habit. I want to talk about why I think millions of us will regret the day we ever turned that thing on. Hopefully someone out there learns to say “no” to television.

How much TV do you watch?

Before I get into the meat of this post I want to ask you all how much TV you watch. Now be honest. Take a good look at your week and think about how many hours you have spent laying on the couch just watching whatever is on. Did you catch the news at six? Did you make it up til Letterman? Did you catch Lost or Scrubs or any of those prime time shows? Perhaps you got them all?

Once you have figure out how much TV you watched last week I want you to leave a comment and tell us. Be brutally honest. How many hours of TV do reader of The Daily Mind watch per week?

Why TV is your worst habit


Creative Commons License photo credit: tim caynes

Now that you have established how many hours you are watching I would like to give you a few reasons why I think TV is a bad habit. If you agree with me or disagree with me please share your thoughts.

1. You can’t get that time back
Life is short. It is fleeting. You have no idea when you are going to die and with that uncertainty comes a real sense of urgency. You will never get that time back. All those days you decided to just watch a few more programs are gone forever. Those hours of your life are gone.

2. It takes away from important tasks
All throughout my childhood my father watched a lot of TV. I remember getting up every morning and getting ready for school while he sat and read the paper and watched the finance news. Then he would come home around 6pm and turn on the new again. We’d eat dinner and I’d go to bed. The whole day I would spend no more than 20 minutes with my father.

And then I moved out. Now I never see him. Maybe twice a month in a good month. And I know he regrets it. He has actually told me that he wished he turned the TV off and just want to a game with me or played some chess. Now we never see each other and he regrets it. You will too.

3. It is never ending
Television is very addictive. You get to sit on a comfortable couch with a nice drink and some snacks and do exactly nothing while the networks get better and better at keeping you there. During the good TV shows like Scrubs and 30 Rock you get commercials for the crap that is going to be on afterward and so you sit there instead of going to bed. And then you are too tired to get up in the morning and do something useful.

But it doesn’t end there. Television stations suck you in for new TV programs that are about to be launched. So instead of being satisfied by a good TV show you are now thirsty for the next thing that is going to be on. TV watching is never ending. You are never satisfied.

4. It makes you numb
Television makes you numb. And it makes you numb because you have spent years now watching everything that has ever been invented. You watch comedy, drama, movies, reality TV, documentaries, porn… everything. Any human experience that you can think of you have already seen it on the TV. And now you are numb. Things don’t excite you as much. Life doesn’t give you the same innocent buzz that it used to. The media has killed that buzz and replaced it with an urge to sit and do nothing.

Your brain is less active when you watch TV than when you sleep. It is numbing. It is relaxing. But you never really get more relaxed. You just want more.

5. It makes you lazy
Television, more than anything else, makes you a lazy person. Going to the gym seems like climbing Mount Everest because you have spent so much time sitting there with a numb mind doing nothing. And when you finally realize that you are out of shape and quit unhealthy you are too lazy to do anything about it. Sad.

I believe there is a direct relationship between how much TV you watch and how much you accomplish in life. The more TV you watch the less you will achieve. Whether it is a happy family, a good career, a fit and healthy body or a loving marital sex life – TV compromises all of those things. And it is not just because it takes up all of your time, it is because all of that stuff seems far too hard.

6. It changes your personality
How many times today have you quoted Bart Simpson or said something from your favorite TV show? My best friend and I are constantly quoting Scrubs lines. When something good happens we say, “Eagle!” like Turk and JD and when I answer the phone he calls me Vanilla Bear. I often wonder what we would talk like if we had never watched Scrubs.

Television changes your personality. You absorb so much of the characters on the screen that you forget to think for yourself. You just mirror what they do. You might be cynical like House or funny like Liz Lemon or witty like David Letterman. But where are YOU in all of that? Where have your own original thoughts gone? What about your political opinions? Are they are own or are you just mimicking Bill O’Reilly or some other talk show host? TV changes your personality to the point that you forget to think for yourself. And that is scary.

Say “No” to television for one week

I am proposing a radical plan. Turn off the TV for one week. Just for seven short days. See how much more you get done. See how much more exercise and sleep you get. Feel how much happier and healthier you feel. Discover how much more you can do with your time on Earth. At first you will feel the separation anxiety. The TV will call you. Resist it and find out how strong you really are.

Will you do it?






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33 Comments »

Comment by S.Smith
2009-04-09 05:09:08

What happens when reading and commenting on articles becomes my new TV?! Okay…I know what happens…

 
Comment by Rob
2009-04-09 07:56:20

Nice post. I’m watching 20 to 30 minutes TV each day, before I go to sleep. The channels I watch are Discovery channel or National Geo. Just because I like it.
I don’t watch the news, soaps or other silly programs, I don’t read a paper and let other people tell me what is going on in the world. I love my way.

 
Comment by Agata
2009-04-09 11:40:31

I don’t watch TV at all. I don’t own a TV-set, don’t have a cable subscription nor a satelite dish.
I never had much use for TV, even as a kid at my parents house. After I moved out I never bothered to get one.
I do have some TV-series on DVD and used to have an itunes-store subscription for one. Maybe twice a month I watch an episode, so that’s 1.5h of ‘TV’ in a month.
Honestly I’ve got so many other things to do I wouldn’t know when to watch more.

 
2009-04-09 12:04:30

I’m with Rob! We watch VERY little TV 30 mins tops each day and the shows are all prerecorded so we don’t waste further time watching ads. It’s great when you can watch TV on your terms as opposed to how the networks want you to.

By giving up TV we have SO much time for other things now. Do we miss it? Not anymore. It took about 2 weeks to get over the addiction but now after nearly a year there’s no turning back! Best thing we did :) Thanks for this post!!

Comment by The Daily Minder
2009-04-11 02:00:20

That’s good to hear. There was some pain at first but you got over it. Gives me hope! Haha.

 
 
Comment by EscapeVelocity
2009-04-09 21:51:53

Pretty much 0 TV–no cable, converter box doesn’t seem to be compatible with my antenna, antenna never did get too good a picture anyway. Way too much internet, though. And I find that the fact that I don’t watch TV and don’t go to movies makes it very difficult to make small talk.

 
Comment by Christian Neeser
2009-04-10 05:25:48

Well, first I want to say that many people who are interested in what our Daily Minder has to say might be less addicted to the feeding tube called your TV.

Secondly, I have found a pretty good solution to the TV situation. Don’t get cable and rent movies. This way you have to deliberately decide when you want to take time out, kick back and watch a movie. Plus you don’t have to deal with these relentless commercials.

Comment by The Daily Minder
2009-04-11 02:01:16

That’s a really good point Christian. I hadn’t thought about that. Perhaps our blog isn’t the best cross section.

 
 
Comment by Tsetsbold
2009-04-10 05:58:03

Actually my TV becomes a computer. Because I just sit in front of my computer and spend whole day.

How about this situation? Sometimes I just think it is not too good for spending lots of time in front of my pc, even I do read some useful stuff, and it is related to my school work.

Comment by The Daily Minder
2009-04-13 04:54:40

You’re so right. The PC is exactly the same if you are wasting time on Twitter, etc. Good point.

 
 
2009-04-10 11:13:24

When I was a kid, I used to watch about 5 hours of television each day! Once I went to University… it became a survival skill that I gave up TV. Even now.. I mostly use DVDs but don’t try to get “addicted” to TV programs.

I wrote a similar post a few weeks back….
Ways To Regain The Hours Television Steals From You

 
Comment by Ben
2009-04-10 11:16:11

Even the most powerful pharmaceuticals take 10-20 minute to kick-in and take effect on the brain. Turning on TV changes your mood within a fraction of a second. TV is the most powerful tranquilizer the world has ever seen and we ought to recognize it as such.

Thanks for the post.

 
Comment by Nadia - Happy Lotus
2009-04-10 17:02:11

We have not had a television in our home in six years. We had to buy one this past January in order to get a wii gaming system. So we have the television but it is used only for video games which are only played about once or twice a week.

If we do watch television shows, we get them through the internet. It is more convenient and you avoid tons of commercials. I think one problem why so many people are lacking in imagination is because television snaps it away.

Great post! :)

Comment by The Daily Minder
2009-04-13 04:55:36

Nadia – great idea about getting them online. You probably save a lot of time not watching all the adverts.

 
 
Comment by soulshine
2009-04-10 18:51:49

great post!!! i cut television out of my life almost three years ago. not including the occasional movie, i watch ~6-10 hours per year. in the past three years i have become *much* more active, lost 65 pounds, have great interpersonal relationships, and always seem to have plenty of time for almost everything i want to do (on top of all my home/life/work responsibilities). i encourage anyone thinking about making the leap to no tv to do so!

kudos brother!!!

 
Comment by True Idealist
2009-04-11 15:50:13

Nice summary of all the reasons to not watch television. Like others who’ve commented, I stopped watching TV years ago for these very reasons. However, the time that I’ve regained from not watching television is now spent on the Internet; it’s a good thing you didn’t ask how many hours we spend online… :)

 
Comment by Samuel Wright
2009-04-11 20:42:38

Unless there is something on that I just HAVE to watch, most of my time is spent either, wife my wife, working on the never ending wasteland that is my yard or working on my Blog.

Most of the TV watching that I do is the occasional SciFi program, a program on Discovery or History channels, or watching recorded programs that I have.

Commercials are what killed TV for me. Any given hour of TV requires almost 15 minutes of commercials. You would think that as much as we pay for cable, they could give you a break on the ads they accost you with.

Comment by The Daily Minder
2009-04-13 04:56:34

Next post… Why You Shouldn’t Have a Garden… haha

Comment by Samuel Wright
2009-04-13 18:31:35

It all depends on what you are growing and if it is for medicinal use or profit. :-)

 
 
 
Comment by 4starsintheskye
2009-04-14 00:21:20

this is a really great post =) thank you.

i also just think that things like facebook and myspace, as well as texting, confuse minds. i check them every now and then, but lately i’ve tried neglecting them. so much confusion and pointless strife just goes out the window. real, one-on-one conversations with loved-ones brings about true happiness in my opinion.

 
Comment by Puerhan
2009-04-14 20:56:52

No TV here. Grew up without one in fact. Still spend too much time on the computer with reading and various projects though.

And I agree with what others have commented about watching DVDs or online where there is a conscious decision involved to do so.

I think children being brought up watching TV is perhaps worse than adults wasting time with it though. The single source of radiated audio-visual stimulation not only inhibits growth of connections between different parts of the brains, it deadens creativity and creates an expectation of stimulation / entertainment. Interaction with the real world through all 5 senses is so much better in every way.

Comment by The Daily Minder
2009-04-15 06:56:33

Great to see you again Puerhan!

You grew up without a TV? That is very interesting to me. How did you find it affected your childhood?

TDM

Comment by Puerhan
2009-04-15 13:49:03

Well sometimes I felt I missed out on conversations at school when everyone was talking about TV. But on the whole I felt I played a lot more games (indoors and outdoors) and read a lot more than school friends. I still wanted to (and did) watch TV sometimes when I visited friends although my parents discouraged me from doing so.

 
 
 
Comment by Sarah
2009-04-15 14:35:54

i watch about 30 hours a week.
that’s nuts i know, it might even be more than the time i get to sleep :D
the problem is it has become a habit and it’s very hard to get red of. it’s just the easiest way to spend time.
i dont have to wait for friends to do it and no time limit to come home. it’s not like sports or shopping. you can do it any time for as long as you wish.
every time i want to go out i call my friends and non of them is free. everybody just comes home tired from work and just wishes to lay down.
i’m not gonna lie, that’s how i feel most of the time. i usally come home from work @ 9 PM. and the earliest is 7 PM. depends on the work load.
i watch TV from 9 to 12 on weekdays and usually all day on weekends :S
i should probably stop it.

 
Comment by touhida
2009-07-10 12:41:30

those are very real talk.we can see our children watching tv for many times.as a result they becomes fan of it.also can’t concentrate about there tasks.so,we should avoid it seriously.and will allow a very small time for watching tv to our children.

 
Comment by Heather
2009-12-18 03:49:00

I’m going to try and do it, I’ll update and see how it goes.

 
Comment by Katrina
2010-04-12 11:58:41

I know i watch far too much tv (or otherwise known through my childhood as the ‘idiot box’)always have. I am taking up the challenge and hopefully my partner will get through it too.

 
Comment by Shara
2010-04-14 14:09:51

I must say I ocassionally watch too much tv, I feel challenged by dealing with a chronic illness and when I don’t have enough energy to do something I sometimes find myself escaping into a tv show; I see your point about tv and am gradually changing to doing more yoga and more meditation more healing activities than letting the tv take me somewhere; In my defense I have to say I’m pretty selective in what I watch and sometimes shows can be uplifting and informative, I like to watch the dog whisper as I have a dog and I find his methods of using your energy to influence your dogs behaviour fascinating and how it teaches you to be mindful of the energy one may be projecting.

with metta

 
Comment by Katrina
2010-05-03 05:36:27

I took the challenge some 3 weeks ago, and the tv is still off. Its been a huge change for my partner and I. I thought i would really miss it, but strangely i don’t. No longer addicted!

 
Comment by steve5
2010-07-14 04:58:36

“3. It is never ending
Television is very addictive … while the networks get better and better at keeping you there … TV watching is never ending. You are never satisfied. ”

har har. so true. Used to spend so many hours in front of the tube watching one program and switching channels to find something else after its ending. You’ll be surprised how long this can continue

In fact, saw this video that capture this effect perfectly

http://www.reelsketch.com/funny-videos-clips/saying-no-to-tv.html

 
Comment by Kristen
2010-08-24 02:55:35

My husband and I used to be addicted to television. Well, I guess we still are but have managed to control our addiction in a way. There are about 7 shows we follow religiously, such as Mad Men, True Blood, Weeds, The Colony, ect..As these shows come on different nights of the week we have sit aside a few hours one of f day each week to sit around in our pj’s and watch our shows. Thank you DVR!!! Thus allowing us the rest of the week to be productive and yet still indulge ourselves.

 
Comment by John
2013-05-15 01:11:20

I watch almost no TV. All my wife does IS watch TV. She puts TV before our son. We are splitting up because of TV.

 
Comment by russianbluemom
2013-06-25 02:24:24

I finally gave up TV when paying the bill and realized it was a waste of my money. I then downloaded Netflix, enjoying some movies – old movies and loved most of the documentaries but now have given that up.

I found TV to be for the uneducated arena. The news is just as bad- exaggerated, useless and biased. Got so tired of the politics, the crime reports, the bad in our world. Some news stations are so biased, it is not real news. No wonder USA is getting stupid.

Thank goodness I love to read, but that too is filled with hype, and obviously based on the his/her marketing agent. Got a nook but now prices match the real book. At least I can resell my ‘real’ books.

Things are changing and just can’t figure out why everyone puts up with this crap? Guess we are forced to huh? So disillusioned it really is not funny.

 
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