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The Bad Habit of TV - What Are You Really Using It For?

by Catherine Pratt

the bad habit of tv, what are you using it for?

The bad habit of tv, where we watch way too many hours per week, is something many of us don't even think about anymore. The TV is just something we automatically turn on or some people apparently never switch it off. It's a fact that on average, we watch more than 4 hours a day which works out to be 28 hours a week. That’s more time than you would spend at a part time job.  That’s a lot of time and most of us don’t even realize it. 

There’s nothing wrong with watching TV in itself.  The problem occurs when we do it simply out of habit or because we’re using it as a crutch to avoid dealing with certain emotions.

So, here’s a challenge for you, before you turn on the TV the next time, ask yourself, “Why am I turning this on?”

You might answer that question with you want to watch a certain show.

But, are you really?  Many of us will turn on the TV as soon as we walk in the door because it’s that bad habit we don’t think about.  How many times do you suddenly realize that you spent an entire evening mindlessly flipping from channel to channel?  If you do, it’s time to ask yourself, “What am I really using the TV for?”  If you’re honest with yourself, it’s not because you just can’t live without knowing who was voted off Survivor.  It could be one of the following factors:

When you’re watching TV, you don’t have to deal with any of the problems in your life.  You don’t have to relate to those people you don’t want to talk to.  You don’t have to take action towards changing your life.  You can simply avoid absolutely everything that happens to be going on in your life right now.  If you’re feeling any emotions of anger or frustration, you can simply numb them by staring at the TV screen for a few hours.

tv allows you to procrastinate

You know you have things you should be doing.  TV allows you to procrastinate.  "I’ll just watch this show and then I’ll go exercise”.  Usually, you’ll keep telling yourself that until, “well, there’s no more time, I’ll have to do it tomorrow.” except tomorrow never comes because of your handy TV excuse.

The problems are usually solved in half an hour or an hour on TV shows.  Sometimes they're funny and provide some laughter.  You have a routine you follow every week.  The character on the shows become like friends.  You look forward to seeing them.  You can also live vicariously through someone else’s life without having to take a single risk yourself.  Nobody wants anything from you and you can just zone out and watch some mindless entertainment. 

Turn Your Brain Off
You’re tired of life and you just don’t want to think anymore.  It’s so easy to stare blankly at the screen and not have to think anything.  If someone asked you, you probably couldn’t even tell them what show you’re watching.

If you’re starting out trying to achieve a new goal or new Life Direction or just making some positive changes in your life, it can be scary.  One way to deal with the fear is not to deal with it at all.  This doesn’t solve the problem though and your fear will continue to build until you do decide to deal with it.

You’re Bored
And you don’t know what to do about it or you just don’t have the energy to do anything about it. 

To Avoid The Silence
A lot of people have the TV constantly on even when they're not watching anything simply because they don’t want to deal with the silence.  Do you find that you can't stand the thought of being alone or listening to your own thoughts? 

If you do, you may find this quote gives you a different perspective. It's from Byron Katie's book called, I Need Your Love - Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead
"If you're afraid to be alone, it means you're afraid of your thoughts. If you loved your thoughts, you would love to be alone anywhere with them; you wouldn't have to turn on the radio when you get in the car, or the TV when you get home. The way you relate to your thoughts - that's what you bring to every relationship you have, including the one with yourself." - Byron Katie

It's an excellent book.  If you're afraid of your thoughts, pick up a copy of this book and you'll be amazed at how quickly those frightening thoughts no longer have any control over you.  You'll get your life back.

There’s nothing wrong with watching TV but if you’re using it to avoid dealing with your problems or to avoid actually living your life then it’s time to become aware of your actions.  The problem with TV is that it’s just much too easy.  One quick push of a button on your remote and you’re suddenly immersed into a new and escapist world.  TV can be a very handy crutch.  It’s also addictive.  You want to know what happens to your favourite characters next week.  The shows are designed to get you hooked and you don’t want to deal with things so you end up not even thinking about what you’re really doing to your life.

One way to learn an amazing amount about yourself is to stop completely from watching TV for a set period of time. You’ll learn way more than you ever did by watching TV.   See if any of the above points suddenly become apparent.

Plus, think about it, when you’re 80 years old, do you want to look back at your life and know that the only thing you’ve learnt is that you knew who the reality tv show winner was every year running?  Or do you want to think back on your own life experiences and smile? 

Ready to take the challenge? 
The next time you go to turn on the TV, ask yourself, “Why am I turning this on? and "Is this really what I want to be doing with my life?"

Something to consider before you turn on the tv

"It’s your life. Your LIFE!
Will you spend that life watching television
where some people pretend to be other people
who don’t even exist?"
Charles Burke

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