TV can be dangerous, but have you ever thought about how it damages your mental health? After a long day (and especially a long week), it is easy to give into temptation, order a takeaway and sit in front of the TV for a few hours. But while we all know how bad fast food can be for you, we don’t pay enough attention to the way TV can damage your mental health and overall wellbeing. Binge-watching has become even easier with subscription on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. However, vegging out in front of the TV can take a major toll on your mental health.
Most of Top Life Coach Carole Ann Rice’s work focuses on making people the best versions of themselves. Here, she shares the truth about how TV undermines your chances of living your best life.
1. It devours your time
That hour you spend watching the Kardashians might be entertaining, but it’s an hour you won’t get back. So as long as you sit there watching glamorous people jet around the world and dine at fancy restaurants, you’re not living your own life – you are only living vicariously through other people, including fictional ones. In fact, according to a recent study at the London School of Economics and Political Science, researchers found that even 60 seconds of exposure to materialistic media ― content that “glamorises fame, luxury, and wealth” ― is enough to significantly zap your sympathy for the poor.
2. It doesn’t enrich your life
You’re not just wasting time by watching programmes such as the above but you’re passing up chances to learn, grow and change for the better. Most TV shows don’t teach you anything that will make your life fuller and happier. So if you’re going to watch TV, focus on substantial, healthy programmes. They will contribute a lot to the life you live away from the screen. As young women it is imperative we learn to love our bodies and empower each other. Social media is pretty bad for this, scrolling through seeing everyone living their #bestlife, let’s not bring it to our TV screens.
3. It sets you up to fail with impossible standards
When you are obsessed with comparing yourself unfavourably to others, you lose 100% of the time. I call it “compare and despair”. This is the trap TV sets you. Remember that the celebrities you see probably have personal trainers, chefs, and stylists to make them look good enough for the cameras. Many programmes knock people’s self-esteem, which over time can cause anxiety and depression. To be more content and happy with yourself, turn off the box and develop your own look.
4. It manipulates you without you even knowing
Most TV is at the end of the day, a product of big business. TV companies thrive on keeping people hooked, and they often don’t really care how. The more sensational, unrealistic and shocking– the better. Get sucked in and you might just forget that this isn’t what real life is like. Getting worked up with anxiety or envy from what we see on television keeps the brain on high alert which prevents us from falling asleep. Insomnia in turn can cause mental health illnesses such as OCD. Hours of TV can also severely affect our memory. There are so many other things you can be doing with your time, the Smart Girl bookclub for one, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join, I’ll see you there.
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