You may not think you have a TV addiction, but as soon as someone mentions shutting off the tube during one of your favorite shows, you might just lose your cool. But, are you really addicted to the TV or do you just really enjoy your favorite shows? There is a fine line between having a TV watching hobby and having an addiction.
TV addiction is a relatively new phenomenon for humans since it wasn’t widely available until the 1950’s. Now, we can watch TV programs online, on our smart phones, and we have smart TVs to help us watch too. The variety and availability of TV programming is making this a more serious issue for some people than it used to be.
Have you ever wished you had more time in the day? Your TV addiction could be keeping you from being able to do the things that you wish you could get done. We spend an average of 2.8 hours per day watching TV and it is the most popular thing to do with our free time. In this article, we will discuss when watching TV becomes an addiction that you might need to break, as well as 10 ways to successfully end your need for the screen.
10 Ways To Break Your TV Addiction
An addiction is a loss of control over your behavior patterns. Breaking an addiction is more challenging than breaking a habit, and that is one of the ways that you can tell the difference between having an addiction to something and just really liking it.
Researchers looked at technology addiction in a study at the University of Plymouth. They say that the following are signs of a TV addiction:
* Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t able to watch TV
* Thinking about the next time you will be able to watch TV
* Feeling euphoric when you watch TV, as if you were getting a buzz off of it
* Relationship problems or social withdrawal
* Frustration, anger, or aggressive behavior toward others who interfere with your TV watching
In research supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the scientists say that TV may be an addiction when ‘one may feel a subjective craving to view television a great deal to achieve a sense of satiation, become preoccupied with the idea of viewing television, not be able to predict how long one will watch TV (loss of control), and suffer negative life consequences as the result.’
The researchers say ‘there does appear to be a phenomenon of television addiction, at least for some people. TV addicts are likely watch TV to satiate certain appetitive motives, demonstrate preoccupation with TV, report lacking control over their TV viewing, and experience various role, social, or even secondary physical (sedentary lifestyle) consequences due to their out of control viewing.’
1. Pick just one or two favorite shows to watch
I can hear you resisting right now, but honestly, you can probably watch anything that you love online at any time. It doesn’t have to be right now. Pick one or two shows that you love the most, the ones that bring you joy, and eliminate anything else.
2. Find a healthy substitute
Instead of TV, you could involve your family in a game night, an evening walk, a game of badminton, or anything that brings you together in happy together time. When you watch TV, you rarely interact with each other and that’s isolating even while you are together.
3. Involve your friends, relatives, and roommates for support
Tell people you love that you want to break your TV addiction. Ask them to hold you accountable to watching it less often. Text reminders might be great or they can call you when you tell them that you need help putting down the remote.
4. Make rules about how and when you watch
You can watch your favorite show IF you have read a chapter of a book that you want to read. Or you can watch TV IF you made a healthy home cooked meal and did your chores first.
5. Set a timer
Make a decision to watch 2 hours or less per day and stick to it by turning the TV off when the timer sounds.
6. Figure out why you need the TV in your life
TV might be filling an empty space in your heart. Are you happy without it? Why or why not? What else could fill that void for you?
7. If TV didn’t exist, what would you be doing?
Let’s say that there is no more TV, what would you spend your time doing? What goals are you failing to achieve because TV is draining your time?
8. Evaluate your TV habits like you watch what you eat
Junk food? No. Junk TV should bring the same reaction for you. If you aren’t benefiting from what you see, shut it off.
9. Get outside
Fresh air, sunshine, moving your body, and looking at nature are all excellent ways to improve your mood instead of vegetating.
10. Get help
Anytime you feel out of control and you have done your best to change on your own, seek the help of a licensed counselor.