Honestly, you should seriously give up on TV for a year, or at least 30 days. There are so many benefits to giving up TV for a year. You will not regret it.
I’ve been thinking for a while that I should give up on TV for a year.
Since beginning meditation and completely changing my lifestyle many years ago, I have become very aware of the effects that the internet, TV and other forms of media and entertainment have on your life.
Truth is, TV, media, “entertainment”… it affects you a lot more than you think. And if you quit TV, it can only do you good.
In a sense, it is very easy to understand the most important benefits of giving up TV: Your mind is not so full of junk information.
That sounds somewhat trivial, yet is actually an immensely important fact.
The less junk information you have in your mind, the more you are able to focus on the important things.
To put this into context, consider two contrasting 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.
This, to me, is the most important difference between someone who watches lots of TV and someone who watches none.
There are however, many more benefits of watching TV.
Here are the benefits of giving up on TV, the reasons you should give up on TV for a year
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. Honestly, it’s shocking. Take a look at these TV viewing statistics. 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.
Seriously, just do this free beginners meditation for an hour instead of watching TV. I challenge you to do that. I will even give you a free meditation timer so you know when the hour is up. And I promise you you will feel amazing afterwards. That is a pinky promise.
Or you could exercise an hours a day and at the end of it you would be fit and toned. Here, do this tai chi exercise. It’s about an hour long. It will make you feel fabulous.
Or you could watch Homer say “Doh” and those “real” (fake) housewives doing… whatever they do. I would rather eat my own face than watch that trash.
2: You turn that TV off, you stop getting stress. No really.
Most people who watch TV watch the news at least once a day.
The news is one of the main sources of stress. That’s because bad news sells.
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? Because that’s precisely what the news does. 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.
Choose a source of good news, not bad news. Trust me, you’ll feel less stressed.
Maybe you already feel stressed. And maybe it was because of the TV. What do you do? Here’s an idea. Turn the TV off right now and spend one hours doing these relaxation techniques to get rid of stress. That will undo the damage TV has done.
3: Turn the TV off and your mind will no longer be a puppet to society
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 through other people.
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.
Did you think “But the world really is a bad place”? Be honest. If so, you need to change that right now. That attitude is only going to mess you up. Instead, change your belief with this guide. Click the link. It’ll be a game changer for you.
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? Great. Do these Imagination Training Exercises. And… oh look… your imagination is actually amazing!
5: Turn off the TV and you will be a hell of a lot healthier
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’re one of those people who spend hours everyday watching TV, or who buy a box-set to watch an entire season of a show in one weekend, you are going to negatively effect your health.
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 want to continue watching TV, do it for short periods, exercising, or at least standing up and moving, a little between each viewing.
The Best Thing about quitting the TV is this. . .
The best thing to do is not to give up TV completely.
Most people who try to give something up cold-turkey end up relapsing. Instead, just try to cut down, maybe half your TV time.
So perhaps don’t force yourself to give up TV for a year. Cut down instead.
Also, 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 bookWelcome 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.
So, I challenge you. Give up on TV for a year. If you accept my challenge, leave a comment.