Want to be Happy? Don’t Watch TV

Want to be Happy? Don’t Watch TV

Want to be Happy? Don’t Watch TV

Are you happy? According to this report by Daily News, if you are happy, then you’re not watching much TV. It was stated in the report that those considered themselves to be happy spend more time reading and socializing. According to an extensive research study, unhappy people watch more TV than those who feel happy.

The study by University of Maryland, analyzing 34 years of data collected from more than 45,000 participants, shown that the pattern for daily TV use is particularly dramatic, with ‘not happy’ people estimating over 30 percent more TV hours per day than ‘very happy’ people. I like to watch movies, and informative shows or documentaries on TV. However, any time the opportunities come up to catch up with friends for coffee, I will readily give up the box.

Engaging in TV is so easy especially for people who don’t like to socialise or who may not have much resources to do it. For TV, they just need to turn on the set and they can indulge themselves in hours of inexpensive and passive self entertainment. There is no deny that watching television can be pleasurable but it has no lasting benefit; it pushes aside time spent in other activities which might not give immediate pleasure, but would provide long-term benefits in one’s condition.

Quoting Dr. Michael Silverman, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, “TV may make you feel better short term but it doesn’t improve your mental state. TV doesn’t add anything and it doesn’t improve anything. And it’s been shown that TV can absolutely stress you out, too.”

So what does happy people do? According to the lead author John Robinson, a University of Maryland sociology professor, “People who are happy are more likely to engage in certain types of activities, like socializing with friends, having sex, reading newspapers.” And when they asked people who say that they are unhappy, they found that the unhappy people could watch up to 10 hours of television a day.

The study further states that unhappily married couples also watch more TV. And what do happily married couples do? They engage in 30 per cent more sex (yes, that caught your attention, didn’t it?), and they attend religious services more, and read newspapers on more days. For happily married couples, you need to spend more quality time together on engaging activities rather than passive entertainment on the TV.

So it seemed we can conclude from the study that watching TV had a direct correlation with unhappiness. However, I do believe that watching TV can be quality time spent too; you choose the right programs to watch and focus on the positive. There are things and values which we can learn from watching TV. Are you happy? If you are, then most probably you’re not watching much TV. What activities do you engage in that make you happy?
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36 thoughts on “Want to be Happy? Don’t Watch TV

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Rondi, yes, I have heard the same remarks too. Personally, I like reading too. Books are very good nutrition for the brain. 🙂

      @ ECL, I have to agree with you; we can get quite a lot of information from TV programs.

  1. lina

    I don’t watch much news because I find it irritating not so much depressing because of the political climate in Malaysia and TV stations tend to suck up to the ruling party. So, I’m rather clueless about the local news. But I do read newspapers!

    I guess when a couple watches too much TV, it hinder their communication. And enjoying each other’s company instead of the idiot box.
    .-= lina´s last blog ..New Haircuts For Us =-.

  2. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ VanillaSeven, it is good that you can survive for so long without TV. I guess you have been busy traveling around the world. 🙂

    @ Lina, I guess I may understand what you mean on the political situation. Watching TV may indeed hinder communication since usually people may be expected to watch in silence. And you are right that we do get to ‘travel’ around the world through TV. Although we don’t get to go on the actual trip, it is not so bad to see the world through TV. However, I believe that you’ll agree with me that nothing beats the actual trip. 🙂

  3. sandy

    Hubby and I watch very little TV. He watches sports, but that’s not really passive…he get’s into it. We have about 3 shows we watch together. We are very happy, read our news on line and avoid TV news the bulk of the time.

    I knit and crochet, we work in the yard together, we take walks together, we chat about what we each read on the net, and sometimes just spend time talking about each other’s day.

    Most of our friends get irritated with us, say we’re being elitist when we say we don’t watch much TV. I’m always amazed they can spend that much time watching, there’s so much stupid tv on.

    .-= sandy´s last blog ..Danie Boone, St. Charles County, Missouri =-.

  4. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Baterya, thank you.

    @ Sandy, thank you for sharing. I couldn’t agree with you more that there are some really stupid programs on TV; at time I asked myself, why are these shows being produced in the first place. I love the part where you mentioned about you and your husband working in the yard and taking walks together. This is what I would picture myself doing with my partner too. 🙂

  5. Shinade aka Jackie

    I love my t.v.! However, for a while I did get hooked on CNN and found myself slipping into a depressive state.

    Everything just seem so negative. Now I am not going to tell you that I don;t still love my t.v. because I do.

    But, unless it’s after 1 or 2 am in the morning I never have time to watch it anymore.

    Also my youngest daughter, the mother of our 4 grandsons has always limited them to 1 hour a day their entire of t.v.

    Now even the 12 and 16 year old given their choice of what to do during free time will opt for reading or sports every time.

    I have to give it to her she really knew what she was doing when she started them out from the very first day with limited or no t.v.

    I hope you had a great day BK!
    .-= Shinade aka Jackie´s last blog ..MM Sunday-Shinade Acres-A Charmed Life =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Jackie, I applaud what your daughter did; she sure bought them up well. I would rather have my children playing sports or reading too. There is really a need to start from young. And I must say that you brought up your daughter well too. 🙂

      @ Brenda, I am also selective on what I watch. Since the mind is our greatest asset, we must guard it at all time.

  6. Tina T

    I definitely agree with this study. Most of the stuff on TV is depressing or just mindless. When we spend too much time with any technology we miss out on time with real live people, which is a sad statement about the effect that technology has on most people’s personal lives.
    .-= Tina T´s last blog ..How Much Should You Change for Love? =-.

  7. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Tina, with so many productions out there vying for part of the big pie, it’s no wonder to see so many mindless or depressing stuffs on TV. Like it or not, mindless or depressing stuffs have a way of locking attentions. It is sometime quite sad; to think that technology is supposed to be innovated to help us, but many times it created a wide gap between individuals.

    @ Rudy, indeed, we have to be more aware of what we choose to watch, just as food, we have to choose food that is good for us.

    @ Mikko, indeed, our minds are truly the greatest possession that we may own; we have to guard it constantly to prevent corruption to it.

  8. Sasha

    I agree. Plus, you know, people (esp. teens) these days get so much insecurities because of what they see on TV. Maybe that’s why there’s too much depression among people now. They should do a study on this.

    Great post, BK!
    .-= Sasha´s last blog ..Share some love… =-.

  9. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Sasha, when I was younger, I did spend quite some time on TV watching cartoons. But if I am to spend so much time on the TV now, I will be missing out a lot in other activities like reading, socialising with family and friends.

  10. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Viel, I like to watch programs about food too. 🙂

    @ John, it is a blessing to us that you are not watching much of the TV; else we wouldn’t be seeing so many spectacular shots at your website. 🙂

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Tiffany, I agree with you that TV is not to be blamed entirely; since we can choose what we watch. And in the report, it didn’t mention much about the content. As it stated, some people are unhappy because they have been spending too much time on TV and this has affected their lives in other areas. Due to watching too much TV, they are spending less time on activities that are beneficial to them in the long term; activities like spending quality time with family, socialising with friends, exercising, reading etc.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ The Hawg, haha, TV just gets bigger and bigger. Be selective in what we watch and it shouldn’t be too bad. 😀

      @ Jackie, thank you, have a great weekend too.

      @ Star, I’m sure spending time with your kids are anytime better than watching the TV. 🙂

  11. star

    I am very much happy to gave my time to my kids rather to watch TV for almost 3 hours. Maybe that’s a reason why my kids enjoyed a lot when we are playing, dancing and talking. Have a nice day BK!!

  12. Penny

    I agree with you, that TV can be time well spent if you choose the right things. I made the decision a while ago that I just don’t want to watch or read the news. It honestly made me too scared of things. I still think I need to watch less TV, but at least I am a lot happier since I stopped watching the news.
    .-= Penny´s last blog ..A Safe Distance =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Penny, choose the programs wisely and you will be better off. I missed an important point from the report: instead of watching TV, people who are happier are doing more of socialising, reading than watching TV.

  13. Ben

    That’s good to hear. I watch very little TV. That study must be accurate. 45,000 people is a big test group. I’m very surprised though that unhappy married couples watch more TV as well. I would have thought that unhappy married couples wouldn’t like sitting right next to each other on the couch for hours. Interesting.
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..Romantic Thoughts that Must Be Done =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Ben, about the married couple, it could be they are doing less engaging activities like going for walk together, chilling out, just having a conversation as compare to just watching TV; there may not be direct engagement.

  14. Queenie

    This post reminds me of that movie “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter Is Dead”, remember the old lady on there who said, “tv rots the brain”. lol It was funny but it does have some truth to it. I probably watch way too much television. I probably would be more chipper if I got off my booty and went outside and stopped to smell some roses. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to turn my tv off and go week the flower bed. 😉