TV watching is often associated with downtime and relaxation. But for some people, TV isn’t always a positive activity. Depending on what you’re watching, you might experience a range of emotions—some good and some bad. If you find that TV is beginning to have a negative impact on your outlook and thoughts, here are four ways to turn TV watching back into the fun, relaxing and enjoyable experience it’s supposed to be.
1. Shut off bad news.
Watching the news on a daily basis can certainly keep you in the loop. You’ll hear about the weather, breaking news and other headlines, making it easier to engage in conversations on the most up-to-date current events.
But while it is smart (and necessary) to be informed, too much news can be a bad thing. Between natural disasters, crime, death and other injustices, watching the news for any amount of time could trigger a range of emotions and put you and your family in a bad mood. It’s hard to remain positive when there’s so much negativity around us. Rather than absorb yourself in the news, shut it off from time-to-time and find something a little lighthearted to watch. You can also set a time limit on the amount of news you watch, so you don’t miss out on current events, but don’t become overly fixated on bad news.
2. Separate yourself from reality TV.
There’s no denying that reality TV is entertaining. You can get a glimpse into another person’s life and experience their highs and lows. But even though reality TV is fun and enjoyable to watch, some shows may promote certain behaviors or feelings that aren’t as positive. This might happen if you’re watching reality shows spotlighting the super rich and their elaborate lifestyles. Even if you’re not a jealous person, continually watching people promote a materialistic lifestyle could make you give greater importance to stuff. You might begin to feel that you need expensive things to be happy and successful.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve one’s lot in life. But it’s also important to not fall for the trap of materialism, which could result in living beyond one’s means and debt.
3. Watch educational programming.
If you can’t find anything on TV, you might settle on hours of mindless entertainment. You can definitely enjoy some lighthearted programs, but to benefit the most from your TV time, add a few educational programs into your lineup.
The truth is, you can learn a lot from TV. Watch documentaries on ancient worlds or historical figures. Switch over to a home and garden channel and learn decorating or DIY tips. Watch a financial program and improve your financial outlook—perhaps getting tips for eliminating debt or retirement planning. Or put on the Animal Planet and educate yourself about exotic species from around the world. These types of programs are perfect if you’re looking to expand your knowledge, but don’t have time to read long text books or take a class.
4. Cure the blues with a comedy.
If you’re having a bad day, the last thing you’ll want to do is watch a depressing show. Instead, find a sitcom or funny movie to lift your mood. It’s hard to stay upset when you’re laughing hysterically. So the next time you’re feeling down in the dumps or having an off day, hop on Hulu and search for a funny movie to take your mind off your problems.
It might come as a surprise, but what you choose to watch can have a tremendous impact on your mental outlook and affect how you think and feel. Some of what you’ll stumble across on TV might seem pretty worthless, but with a little digging, watching television can be a positive, educational experience for you and your family.