100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 57. Stop Watching TV

Television evolved a lot from the balanced news provider it was in the beginning up to the current manipulating tool. Just stop watching it for a week. And then for a month. Meanwhile, assess your psychological progress. You may be amazed.

Although we need a steady information flow to cope with our day to day reality, clogging it with an oversized pack of random data, such as the one most TV shows provides, will rend the whole purpose of it ridiculous.

Too much of it will slowly erode your own values system and make you subject to shallow interpretations or just plain lies. Make yourself a service and exercise your own judgment as often as you can.

Don’t live your life from a broadcasted TV show, keep it real. 

How To Stop Watching TV And The Associated Benefits Of This Unusual Habit

I’ll be honest with you: I watch TV a lot. I have a big TV in the living room and I literally can’t avoid it, it’s just there. Sometimes I watch it for as much as a half an hour. Continuously.

But here’s the trick: I almost never turn it on.

Yeah, you can laugh. It was a joke. But also a fact. I almost never turn on the TV. Sometimes I watch a movie, rented or streamed, but that’s it. I stopped watching news years ago. When I was younger, I worked as a journalist for 7 years. I think I kinda exhausted my current lifetime karma for news during that time.

But the entire process of giving up wasn’t that easy. As with any addiction – and watching news is one of the worst addictions you can get – things are never linear. Here are 3 simple tricks that will help you with this. Or, at least, they helped me:

1. Watch Movies Instead

When I started the withdrawal process,  I couldn’t do it cold turkey. So I took it slowly. I couldn’t get rid of the habit of turning the TV on when I was home, but, instead of putting it on a news channel, I picked some movie channel. For a while, I was still zombified, because I was watching 2-3 movies in a row. But, after I finally got rid of the news, I fond the dissociation from the movies much easier. It may work for you too.

2. Don’t Engage In News Related Conversations

This is hard in the beginning. Social interactions are important and there’s a real feeling of inadequacy if you can’t fit in. But, as you get further an further away from news, you will find it easier to respond, candidly: “Well, sorry, I don’t know anything about this, because I don’t watch news.” Some of your friends will find you weird because of this. That means some of your friends will have to either accept you as you are, or split.

3. Consume Social Media (Moderately)

In time, I found that there is some real need to be connected, to find out news about my current environment. It might be a survival skill, in the end. When I realized I still need to know about the weather, about the schedule of public transportation during holidays or other utilitarian stuff like this, I went to social media. You can filter the information you get from social media, you can choose what you get. That’s a huge shift. With traditional television, you can’t do this. Of course, there might be a tendency to over consume here too, social media itself is not far from television in terms of addictiveness, so moderation is advised.

Now, about the benefits of TV withdrawal…

First of all, there will be less stress. Violence, induced fear and catastrophic approaches are all very disturbing. Getting rid of them will be good for your emotional health.

Second, you’ll have more time. You have no idea how much time you spend in front of the TV. That time can be converted in something that really matter. Time shared with your family, friends, kids, or just quality time with yourself.

And third, maybe, just maybe, you may feel the need to get out of the couch too. Since you don’t have anything to watch from that couch, you might as well go out, exercise, or just interact with real people.

In real life, you know?

further reading

7 Ways To Break A Habit

My Top 7 Demotivating Habits

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