At the beginning of 2019, I made the hard decision to entirely give up one of my favourite pastimes: watching TV. After a hard day of work when I felt tired and brain-fried, watching TV was always my favourite escape. I would find myself laying on the couch staring at the box for hours. Now, to be clear, I only gave up watching normal TV but occasionally I’ll watch a movie or documentary on the streaming services.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

Why give up something I enjoyed? It came down to a number of factors but the biggest trigger was the kind of negativity and rubbish that airs on national TV and the effects it was having on my mind. I strongly believe in controlling what goes into my mind rather than stuff being fed into my mind and I have to internally filter the emotions. When you watch TV, you are pretty much subject to whatever is airing. You could move from a funny ad to a scaring news headline.

News is supposed to be informative and subjective but it’s become opinionated and seemingly geared towards soliciting an adverse reaction. It’s no wonder you feel like things are really worse than they are. I get easily triggered by negativity and cutting off the news as well as slowing down Facebook seemed like a logical choice. 

Here’s the other thing you probably don’t know about programmed series. Let’s say you watch an episode of your favourite drama, have you noticed how it always ends with a cliff-hanger so that you are hooked and waiting for the next show? In the meantime, your mind is subconsciously trying to work out what will happen and solve some unwarranted puzzles rather than work to solve your own life challenges. 

Then there is the time you devote to watching TV. Statistically, the average Australian conservatively spends 68 hours and 27 minutes a month watching TV. In case you are wondering what’s stealing your gym, hobby or side hustle time, I think we might have found the culprit. Giving up TV meant more quality time with my wife as well as fitness. Imagine what you could do with that time?

After almost 2 years of no TV, I’m happy to report that I am a lot happier. I have not ideas what shows are popular and while this limits what I can talk about with people, these are the kinds of conversations I would ordinary have avoided anyway. I look at news online once a week and therefore I have no idea of what’s happening in the world on a day to day basis. Whoever said ignorance is bliss was a genius. They should name streets after him. Heck, the pope should canonise them as a saint.

One key to happiness is being to control what goes into your mind. Why don’t you cut down TV for the next 30 days and see how it changes your life?

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