April 24, 2011

40 Days and Nights

40 Days and Nights. That's the number of days and nights I've sacrificed watching TV shows during the Lent.

No, I do not bear any ash cross on my forehead nor it was for any religious purpose. I wasn't addicted to television, but it was a habit for me to turn on the TV and it had a huge influence on those projects or hobbies that I've procrastinated for too long time. I used TV to relax me which isn't a great idea. Watching TV did reduce my spare time drastically while I should be reviving my old hobbies.

For the first two weeks, I did not turn on the TV. After that, I did turn on the TV to watch the movies or to do website projects. And I relapsed. Then I decided not to abolish my lent so I got back up and tried not to watch any TV shows.

2 hours and 45 minutes of TV shows I had watched during the lent. 2 hours of Celebrity Apprentice. I meant, who could resist watching Dionne Warwick going off at Marlee Matlin that young children couldn't learn sign language. The other 45 minutes are the attention-grabbing news, for example; Japan earthquake that had happened during the Lent. That's one of my most proud achievements.

Here's the article I've excerpted from Personal Development Gone Wild Blog:

1. TV lowers your consciousness

When we watch TV our brain activities start to switch from beta waves (alert consciousness) to alpha waves, which results in lower consciousness. On television we see shows, serials and movies that appeal to conscious lowering emotions such as fear, anger and desire rather than to consciousness raising emotions that would lead us to reflect and question things.

2. TV is addictive

“Television provides an escape from reality not unlike that of drugs or alcohol. A person can slip away into the fantasy world offered by television programs and effectively impede the pressures and anxieties of their own lives. This is similar to ‘going on a trip’ induced by drugs or alcohol.” (Daniel Hardebeck)

The similarities between being addicted to drugs and watching TV are surprisingly huge and TV addicted people show very similar behaviors like drug addicted. Here is what I´m talking about:

  • Escape from reality: Television allows you to enter a fantasy world and lets you forget all your problems and troubles. It helps people to forget about their everyday lives and helps them to enter a joyful state of mind. Certain drugs have the same effects.
  • Repetition: You just don´t turn on the TV once in your life and that’s it. You turn it on day after day as life wouldn´t feel as good without it. Without watching television you feel like as you would miss something. Just like a real addict television viewers are not seeking for a one time experience, but have to repeat it again and again to maintain the positive feelings.

  • “I could stop watching TV”: Phrases like “I can stop watching television whenever I want to” and “I could live without TV as well” is what cigarette smokers and alcohol drinkers repeat to themselves and their friends as well. However, it is not that easy for them to turn off the TV as activities that do not include to watch TV for hours seem less attractive or more difficult.

3. TV and its negative side effects:

Habitual TV viewing for many hours a day can have very negative side effects from physical aspects (such as overweight) to social exclusion. Besides that, massive TV consumption will also be an obstacle when it comes to personal development as you simply haven´t enough time to focus on your personal growth.

  • Obesity: Television can be a viscous circle when it comes to overweight: Advertising commercials cause us to become hungry and increase our demand to eat extra snacks while watching TV. Besides that TV does not necessarily motivate us to start physical exercise, which will reduce the amount of calories that are burnt and leads to overweight.
  • Sleep deprivation: Many adults report that they find it quite complicated to sleep after watching television for a long time. I for myself noticed that I start to think about what I have seen all over, which prevents me from sleeping.
  • Social exclusion: People that are watching TV excessively tend to exclude themselves out of the real life, as it becomes more difficult to stay in touch with friends and to find new friends then watching television.

4. More Time:

Watching TV is wasting huge amounts of our precious time, but as soon as you decide to turn off the TV once and for all you will notice the extra time you can gain with this decision. It may seem awkward in the first weeks and you won´t not know what to do instead, which will let you experience a lot of boredom. But as soon as you discover activities that are more productive than watching TV (exercising, joining the gym, learning a foreign language, learning to cook, etc.) the boredom starts to disappear. Another benefit is that it doesn´t feels anymore as if time has flown by without making use of it in an efficient way.

5. No need to schedule your life

With the decision to turn off the TV there is no need anymore to schedule your life around the TV. Back in the time when I was watching TV regularly I scheduled some parts of my life around television serials and movies, which also influenced the time I went to bed. Instead of having a set time when I go to sleep I waited until the movie had ended until I decided to go to bed. It also happened that I decided to watch the serial that was following thereafter as well and it all reduced the amount of sleep.

That's the power I've gained within myself for not watching TV shows. But right now, I'm going to watch the recorded Celebrity Apprentice then go to bed. I got the feeling that is probably going to be one of two TV shows I'll watch this week except for the playoff rounds between Lakers and New Orleans. Guarantee!