THE PATH TO HAPPINESS – STEP NINE

This next step may seem a bit of a challenge for you. It asks that you “Cut your TV viewing time in half.” Many people have come to equate watching television with relaxation when, in fact, many of today’s programs can have quite the opposite effect.

Excessive TV viewing can lead to an array of mental and emotional unbalances. Bruno Frey, from the University of Zurich, found that long hours spent in front of the television are linked to a greater desire for material possessions, anxiety and lower life satisfaction.

Too much TV can also wreck havoc on your love life. A team of Italian psychologists has found that having a television in your bedroom will cut your frequency of lovemaking in half. For those couple who are over 50, having a TV in the boudoir will decrease romance by over 75%!

The detrimental effects can be seen early on. A recent study at Stanford University found that there was a direct correlation between how much TV a child watches and how content they are. The children, ages 8 to 18, came from all races and economic groups. The greater the amount of time spent in front of a TV, the less content they were.

This is particularly frightening given the fact that 99% of the children surveyed have at least one TV in their house and almost three quarters of them lived in a home with three or more TV’s. For 68% of these children one of the TV’s was in their bedroom.

According to Robert Kubey of Rutgers University, millions of Americans are so hooked on TV that they fit the official psychiatric definition of substance abusers. When surveyed they admit to experiencing symptoms such as withdraw and anxiety.

The A.C. Nielsen Company reports that the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. This equates to 28 hours a week or two full months of nonstop TV-watching per year. In an average 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 of those years in front of the television.

So it’s no wonder that cutting your viewing time in half made it to the top ten! You may wonder what you will do to fill that time. Here are some suggestions to make the transition easier:

Get excited planning what you will do. Will you take up a new hobby? Volunteer? Start taking walks in the park? Perhaps you could use the time to implement some of the other steps to happiness.

Create a TV schedule. Pay attention to what you watch, and then make a list of those shows that you feel have a positive impact in your life. Try to only watch those programs for a week and see how you feel.

Turn off the TV while you’re eating. Instead play some great music, light some candles and have a good conversation with friends and loved ones.

Try covering your TV. Get a nice tapestry or an entertainment armoire. Keep the TV out of site except for when one of your scheduled shows is coming on.

Put away all your extra TV’s. This way you will be less tempted to turn on a TV “just for the noise” or simply out of boredom.

By simply reducing your TV watching time in half, you’ll find that you have extra time to do things that truly bring you joy. Try it for a week and see what happens!

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