I haven’t been watching a lot of TV lately. It’s not like I’m intentionally avoiding it. It’s just that whenever I even try to channel surf, which is usually for a couple of hours on the weekend, I get bored really quickly.
Nothing good is on TV right now other than Catfish: The TV Show, some educational shows, my usual crime-story news magazines like Dateline and 48 Hours Mystery, and Breaking Bad (or so I’m told; I haven’t watched Breaking Bad yet). Oh yeah – I forgot Cops. That’s a big one to forget.
I’ve heard for a long time that being distraction free is important, and you shouldn’t have the TV on while you’re doing other things, but I only recently began taking advantage of this knowledge. Between work, maintaining some semblance of a social life, blogging, and exercise, doing nothing else while watching TV is near impossible. I’m already lacking in sleep as it is; I’m not going to sacrifice more of my time just to plop in front of the ol’ boob tube
I’m also inclined to believe that avoiding TV, whether intentionally or not, has contributed to my improved mood. I had an epiphany that the improvement of my body image has coincided with watching a lot less TV. Not watching the local evening news is also an obvious way to keep from scaring oneself into not leaving the house. The lack of added background noise in my day-to-day life makes me feel more peaceful in general.
I certainly don’t fault anyone who watches more TV than I do. Nothing is wrong with channel surfing to relax now and then, or looking forward to watching your favorite prime time shows. I know plenty of bright and hard-working people who have no perceivable problems with their moods and enjoy watching TV on a daily basis. Research indicates that being stressed less by way of laughter really is the best medicine, so watching a funny show is much better for your well-being than people once thought. I myself could probably benefit from having a “laugh library” of my favorite funny shows and movies; sometimes I go all day without laughing, and that’s no way to live!
One thing I would say is to avoid shows that cause you to compare yourself to others. I used to watch a lot of reality television, but now that I am pretty much conscious of how I feel at any given moment, I realized I developed a pit of anxiety in my stomach when watching people put their dysfunctional lives on display, or viewing the escapades of people richer and/or prettier than I. It begot comparing myself to people I’ve never even met, and that was particularly unhealthy considering my problems with anxiety and depression.
I’m glad that I’m discovering day by day what works for me as a recovering depressive and what doesn’t. I realize I feel better overall when I feel like I’m busy, but in a sort of distraction-free and tranquil way (if that makes any sense). Each individual who struggles with health issues similar to my own would also benefit from examining what behaviors they can do without. Sometimes just acknowledging where the problem lies can be the first step to recovery.