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Why Do I Live Without a TV?

Why Do I Live Without a TV?

A few months ago, I was sitting at my fiancée’s apartment, curled up on the couch with her watching How I Met Your Mother.  Inherently, there was nothing wrong with what we were doing.  It’s a very funny show and we really enjoyed watching it together.  The problem was we had spent the last three hours watching How I Met Your Mother.  In that entire time, I don’t believe we spoke ten words to each other.

There we sat, on the couch, holding each other, feeling as if we’re bonding, yet not really connecting at all.  I realized I knew more about what Barney Stinson was thinking than what my loving fiancée was thinking.

This thought hit me like a punch in the stomach:

How much time do we spend watching TV, and is this healthy for us?

Being a somewhat obsessive person, coupled with un-medicated ADHD (I was diagnosed as a child and my parents refused to put me on drugs, for which I am very grateful), I decided to research the effects of television on couples.

The results were not very good.

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Generally speaking, couples who watch lots TV tend to argue more often, have less sex, lead unhealthy lifestyles, and are less satisfied with life in general.

I began searching for positive effects of television on adults.  This was a surprisingly difficult impromptu research project.  There is very little on the internet explaining how TV helps adults.  There are a few articles around how educational programing can be good for children, but apparently after the kid learns to read, it’s better to get a book.

The last straw came from a Brian Tracy quote I stumbled upon on Youtube: “Poor people have big TVs and small libraries; rich people have small TVs and big libraries.”

I decided I would much rather fall into the latter category.

Speaking with my loving and oh-so-patient fiancée, I asked her if we could do an experiment: 60 days with no television.

She listened to my reasoning and asked for a small concession: 1 movie night a week.

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I did the math: we would be reducing our television time from roughly 25 hours a week to 2; seemed a reasonable deal, so I accepted her terms.

The first week was very tough for us.  We had gotten so used to vegging out on the couch when we were home, there seemed little for us to do.  To make matters worse, we were in the middle of the hot season in Antalya, Turkey, so traveling outside was out of the question.  We walk EVERYWHERE in Antalya and did not really like doing that in 107 degree weather.

A funny thing happened after about five days: we started talking more.  A lot more.  I learned more about her in the next 60 days than I had in the last 6 months, and I loved it.  She really is a fascinating person.  On top of that, we both spent more time doing other activities we enjoyed.  My reading time quadrupled and she spent a lot of time crafting.  I now have a favorite winter hat thanks to this rekindled hobby of hers.

After the 60 days were up, we decided we wanted to keep watching How I Met Your Mother.  We spent the next three days watching 2+ hours of that show.  The normal American watches 32 hours a week of television, so we were still low on the consumption, comparatively.  But, to me, I felt a sudden shift which I didn’t like.

I became moodier, less interested in listening to her, less interested in my reading, and generally lazier than I had been.  Similar reactions from her caused us to argue more and snap at each other over silly things.

This led us to permanently reinstate the “1 movie night a week” rule.

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That was 8 months ago, and we are never going back.

A quick run-down of the benefits we enjoy which have fully cemented this decision:

1)      We get along much better.  It’s rare that we argue and when we do, we listen to each other instead of trying to find distractions.

2)      Our cooking has gotten much better.  Now that we don’t rush through the cooking process in order to plop down on the couch, we take our time and enjoy each other’s company while cooking.

3)      Meal times are slow and peaceful.  We really take a moment to enjoy what we prepared together.

4)      Our view on the future is brighter.  Before, we didn’t talk too much about the future.  A lot of our conversations revolved around TV shows we enjoyed.  Now, we talk a lot about what will happen next in our lives, not what will happen next on Prison Break.

5)      My business is less stressful.  I don’t feel constantly strained for time, and when things pile up, it’s much easier for me to focus on the task at hand without seeking mindless entertainment.

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6)      We are more interesting people.  This seems almost counter-intuitive, because a big fear I had when I started this experiment was that I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friends about TV shows like I used to.  This has proved to be completely the opposite.  Although we don’t talk about TV, with the reading we do and the projects we are always working on, we have really great stories to talk to our friends about.  Not to mention, they always want us to come over and cook now :).

7)      Our social life has improved.  When you don’t have anything to watch on TV you find things to do.  We try to spend at least one night a week visiting friends for dinner.  It’s a great way to keep things fresh and build relationships.

8)      We are much more active.  We take walks all the time and love taking our dog to the park.  We did these things before the experiment, but now we do them much more often.

These are the benefits I can think of right now.  Really, there’s an overall sense of happiness I never knew we were missing before.  I don’t ever want to lose this feeling over a television again.

Now, it’s your turn: what do you think would happen if you gave up television for 60 days?

Please leave your comments below; I would love to hear your thoughts J.

Trent

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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