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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 January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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