My earliest recollection of watching television is being sat in the front room after school, wrapped up in Dastardly and Muttley and Blue Peter. If I was feeling rebellious enough I might have watched Grange Hill, but I'd have to make sure my parents were not around as they would surely disapprove of all that early teen anarchic chaos.
Through my early teens, I didn't watch much TV although I had a penchant for spending all day watching England play Australia in a cricket test match during the long summer holidays and listening to Richie Benaud give a masterclass in the understated commentary. A world away from the frantic and breathless “must have a sentence on every action” that the Sky presenters these days impart.
Between 18 and 30 I hardly watched any television. I was either working or in the pub.
Once I'd settled down with my wife and had kids, television became a significant part of my life. It was easy to chill out with a drink and watch the screen. But insidiously over the last few years, it started to become an addiction that was making itself an excuse not to do anything else.
The frightening part was when my Sky subscription became an essential part of my lifestyle. The box set bingeing on shows like “West Wing”, “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” had become the mainstay of my evenings. I was in trouble when I started drinking Whisky in a tumbler and apeing “Mad Men” and not remembering which episodes I'd watched the next day.
Television Is Stealing Your Life
Recently I've cut down my TV watching to a bare minimum. The only things I watch these days are the football when Liverpool are playing and the odd film here or there. Maybe once a week. It has made a dramatic change in my life. Cutting down on TV has also made a mockery of those “all TV is crap this weekend” or “there is nothing on TV tonight” statements I used to trot out regularly.
I've got thirteen channels of shit on my TV to choose from – Pink Floyd
Of course, Pink Floyd wrote “nobody home” before the explosion of satellite and cable channels came to pass.
To begin with, you don't realise how you are being used, and your mind is being taken over. When you watch any channel, you are incessantly besieged with adverts for new shows and programs that are “essential viewing”. You are made to feel like you are missing out big time if you don't watch them.
Secondly, it's the advertising that is so bad for you. If you are finding it difficult to stop drinking and you watch a lot of soaps, then it's no wonder. The characters are always drinking in the pub, and the breaks are full of advertisements for alcohol. If the legal age for drinking in this country is 18, there should be a watershed for adverts that promote and encourage the consumption of alcohol. Many youngsters in their early teens are being brainwashed into believing that Thatchers cider is what cider is supposed to taste like when they shouldn't be encouraged to drink at all.
Doesn't the Government know that drinking alcohol has a major impact on mental health? That'll be the money talking then.
Watching Television Affects Your Health
Sitting down for long periods of the day is terrible for you. Everyone knows that.
Watching Television Is Suppressing Your Thoughts And Creativity
When was the last time you sat in your front room and instead of automatically turning on the TV you sat in silence, alone with your thoughts?
That idea would have been anathema to me just months ago. But now I regularly sit alone, do nothing and contemplate my existence. Sitting and doing nothing is not to be confused with meditation; this is merely listening to your thoughts as they arise and pondering them. Being aware of your thoughts is how ideas and creativity take root in your mind.
When you watch TV, you are handing over control of your thoughts. You are on the receiving end of the signal rather than being or generating the message. This passive viewing could be the reason why your creative cupboard is so bare.
TV advertising influences your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs and it could be the most major and dominant force affecting your life. Only you don't know it because it is socially acceptable to be a couch potato and no one has told you any different.
When you stop watching TV, you free your mind of much mental junk that shouldn't be there. Your brain has time to focus on other activities like getting you out of your financial mess and pursuing goals or activities that contribute to your overall wellbeing.
Ask yourself the question: Does watching television add any real value to my life and what will I gain by watching it? How will this improve my life?
Instead of being a passive viewer of someone else's imagination, stop watching television and fire up your creative juices. Discovering new creative activities like painting, writing, blogging or doing more exercise will have a much more beneficial effect on your mind and body than three hours of TV every night ever will.