The Insidious Television

NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR IT. I know I don't. But watching television is a waste of time if what you want to be is happy. As I've said many places, it is actually worse than a waste of time: It uses up time you could be using to do healthy, enriching, and otherwise satisfying things. But it is easy and unnaturally compelling.

A study that found a large percentage of people watch more television than they want. Strange, isn't it, when the thing is so easy to turn off? In a recent post on the Positive Psychology News Daily called Does TV Make Us Happy?, Rosie Milner wrote:

"On average, Americans spend about five hours per day watching TV, while Europeans are glued to the box for over three and a half hours daily."

That's a lot of time. Especially when it doesn't make you happier or healthier or more successful or even more relaxed! But like Rosie says, television has one thing in its favor: it gives immediate gratification. Beyond that, television producers make it as difficult as possible for you to turn off your TV or even change the channel. They use every trick they can.

And in their efforts to capture and hold your attention, they accidentally change your worldview into a more pessimistic one. One of the methods they use to capture your attention is to horrify or shock you. Your brain hasn't evolved to deal with so much sensationalistic input. Too much of it skews your point of view. This is one of the leading causes of the global pessimism we're trying to crush here on CP.

That's the big view. The more immediate issue is you and your own television.

Nobody is going to save you from your television. It's your life. If you are going to have a great one, you will have to turn that thing off more than you want to.

If you're looking to have a little goofing-off time, here's an idea of what to do besides television: Wasting Time The Old Fashioned Way.

And here's an article with a few good ways to reduce the amount of television you watch: How To Have More Life In Your Time.

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