I remember as a child sitting in front of the TV waiting for the Saturday morning cartoons to come on. There would be a blank screen or an American flag, then in an instant the Saturday morning lineup would begin. After that, we went outside and played. TV was just one form of entertainment.
As I grew older I watched more and more television. As a family, we would watch TV every night. Dinner at the table turned into dinner in front of the TV. The first thing we did when we woke up was turn on the TV. The last thing we did before going to bed was to turn off the TV. It was just what we did.
I now watch very little TV. I watch much less TV in a week than the average person would watch in a day. If I had to quit watching TV today completely, it would have very little impact on my life.
As I became an adult and started trying to make better lifestyle choices, TV kept getting in the way. I chose to follow these other choices even if it meant little TV watching.
Here are the benefits I have found, along the way, for watching less TV. Surprisingly, many will help financially.
Cut Back on the Cable Bill
Since we watch very little television, we don’t pay for cable. We get the local channels over the air. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime. This is way more than enough. We don’t pay for Prime to get the video, but we do get the benefit.
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We eat dinner at the table
Dinner time is a mix between great fun and chaos. Almost every night we sit together as a family and eat dinner. We talk and catch up with each other. We make plans for the week and joke around. Because we spend a good amount of time around the table my kids are very well-behaved at restaurants and in other people’s homes. Instead of being pacified with a screen they take part in conversations at the table.
More time to read books
When I was always in front of the TV, I never read books. I now read a book a week. My personal formula is to alternate a fiction and non fiction every other week.
Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.
I read to the kids. From short picture books to chapter books we spend a lot of time reading together. This is a special time for me with the kids every day. I get just as caught up in the stories as the kids do. A huge benefit with this is that the kids learn more than just the obvious. Their whole worldview is broadened. They can step into the shoes of people all over the world and at any time in history.
Spend time outside
I know you can watch shows outside on your phone but that’s not the point. Vitamin D is a good thing. Time outdoors is refreshing and good for you. There is a reason why you get the winter blues.
This one is tricky too. You can still do many exercises in front of the TV. The big thing is to get off the couch and get moving. If it’s just to stand up in front of the TV and move then there still a benefit. I would recommend turning everything off and enjoy the activity at hand. There is something meditative about tuning out the world and working out.
Commercials are meant to make you less content
Commercials are there for one reason: to get you to buy something. They are designed to make you feel unsatisfied with what you have. They want you to think you will be happy if you only bought what they had to offer.
I’m not used to watching cable. We use services like Netflix that have no commercials. When I do watch a program on cable I’m appalled at how much time the commercials take up.
My kids have grown up without commercials. Do you know how I can tell if they have been watching cable TV? They start asking for toys they just saw on the commercials. It’s scary how fast they are manipulated into wanting something. They never needed it before but now they cannot live without it. .
Make a little extra cash. Stop watching and find ways to earn money.
Work on the To-Do list
There are always things to be done. From home maintenance to Christmas shopping there are some more productive things you can be doing than watching TV.
Better sleep at night
Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from Televisions and other devices harm our ability to fall asleep efficiently.
You may actually have something interesting to talk about
People like to talk about what they watch. They spend time watching the shows then spend time talking about it. I’m no benefit in these conversations. I would rather get to know the person better or talk about something that would benefit our lives. Maybe share something that one of us has learned.
Less crazy influence
I don’t like to watch the news. It’s not that I don’t want to know whats going on around me. It’s because the news only shows stuff that creates a sense of urgency and panic. Theres a silent killer out there stay tuned for more.
What about the dark cop dramas? Do you think it is good to fill your mind everyday with stories of sick twisted psychopaths?
Interact with other people
Would you watch a show in which the main character watched TV the whole time? Not really. So why would we want to be that person. TV is entertaining because it is about people interacting with other people. Don’t just watch other people’s relationships, nurture the relationships around you. Spend time with your family, talk to your neighbor, invite someone over for dinner, play games, etc.
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Henry David Thoreau