I don’t think I realised the influence of the media on my attitude, thoughts, mood, opinion, time, health and spending until I eliminated it from the majority of my life. I didn’t make a snap decision, in fact I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision, it has happened organically over time due to lifestyle changes and the pursuit of my passion and dreams. And as I have travelled along this journey of self-discovery I have discovered more people who have made this change and they would all recommend this simple adjustment to your time to have a massive impact on your life and on those around you.
Lets consider a few negative aspects of the media:
Health – there are numerous studies that draw direct parallels with obesity, poor eating habits and watching TV. We have all sat their mindlessly eating while watching and low and behold the whole packet has gone! And how about, there is no time to cook a healthy meal because my favourite show starts in 10 mins….
Distraction – it distracts us from real people. Have you been chatting to a friend on the phone only to realise your favourite show is about to start and so excuse yourself….? So many characters on TV are not real and yet they have been very cleverly designed to be more interesting than talking to your friends and family? It also distracts you from yourself. My neighbour, as soon as she walks through the door the TV goes on (sadly I can hear all of this!) TV is an escape but aren’t you escaping from yourself and your life?
Spending – corporations spend millions on advertising through all forms of the media not on the hope that they will influence your spending, they know they will! And the advertising campaigns twist facts so far from the truth… and sadly we believe them!
Satisfaction – according to studies those that watch TV every night report less satisfaction with life, higher materialistic aspirations and more anxiety. And where do you think we get our ideas of what a beautiful woman looks like?! We are constantly comparing ourselves to people in the media instead of focusing on ourselves and our life.
Intimacy – couples who have a TV in the bedroom have sex half as often as those who don’t…
Sensationalism – the media is a business, big business! Just the same as advertising campaigns, stories on the news and current affairs are dramatized to suck you in. “Cant miss episode” “Show of the year” They play on your fear of missing out! Added to that the facts are twisted and manipulated in order to grab your attention and make you watch their channel; why is it we believe whatever we are told by A Current Affair without doing our own research?
Depression – has been my constant companion all my life. Why would I expose myself to all the negative news and make myself feel worse? Do you really need to know about the old lady who was bashed and robbed? As sad as it is, hearing about it is not only depressing in installs fear. Its no coincidence that when the media air a story about the latest flu epidemic that all of a sudden doctors and hospitals are flooded with new patients. And it is no coincidence that the Paris hostage situation occurred so soon after Martin Place…. We are all connected by energy and if you tap into that negative energy…
I haven’t watched main stream television for over 10 years. I have not watched the news for even longer. Have I missed out on anything earth shattering? No. I hear about dramatic, world changing events in my Facebook news feed!! I couldn’t possibly train to the level I do, cook and prepare my food, get enough sleep, work, do household chores and study if I was tied to the TV schedule. Any left over time is for my friends!
So if you agree with the negative impact the media plays in your life how do you go about changing your lifestyle… Here are my top tips:
- Be intentional about filling in the time – have a family meal where you actually talk to each other, take the time to cook a gourmet meal, go for a walk, take a class, talk to a friend! go to the gym, find a new hobby, read, study; create positive habits that contribute to your development and the pursuit of your dreams.
- Less is more – you don’t have to eliminate all TV! I am not suggesting a complete black out. Be selective of the shows you watch and watch only those shows; try and make them educational. If you find yourself surfing and looking for something to watch it is time to find a new hobby!
- Reduce the number of TVs – when I grew up we had one TV (and only 4 channels!) Now it seems normal to have 3 or 4! Why?
- Go it alone – maybe who you live with may not be supportive. So start developing your own new habits, be the change you want to see in your family and when they see the exciting new life you are creating for yourself they will be more inclined to change.
- It will get easier – like any habit the more you do it the easier it gets. And when you start filling in the time with more meaning, life will become more meaningful.
Change is hard. But some changes have a greater benefit and impact on all areas of your life than others. Watching less television and switching off from the media in general just may be your quickest shortcut to a healthier, more relaxed way of living. And all it takes is to pick up the remote and hit the off button 🙂