Need to Curb Your TV Addiction?

TV studios and streaming services release content at high speed, and the more it becomes available, the more TV channels we all watch. According to the 2019 American Time Use Survey , watching TV accounts for just over half of all free time – almost three hours a day. Add to that the pandemic and the orders not to leave the house, and watching TV can be a little more in our lives than we want. If you’re worried about watching too much TV, or just want to cut back on your time a bit, here are some tools to help curb that.

Determine if you have a problem

Addiction refers to certain behaviors that indicate loss of control and overconsumption. The Journal of Behavioral Addictions defines television addiction, in particular, as the ability to “ become addicted to the idea of ​​watching television, not being able to predict how long a person will watch television (loss of control), resulting in negative life consequences. “There’s a difference between wanting to watch TV and taking a break for a season of your favorite show, so how do you tell a ‘normal’ escape from a real problem?

Healthline offers a list of questions you can ask yourself to determine if watching TV has become a habit:

  • Do you regularly watch more TV than you would like?
  • Do you get upset when you can’t watch TV?
  • Do you watch TV to feel better?
  • Are you having health problems from watching TV?
  • Has your relationship changed?
  • Is it difficult for you to cut down on your TV time?

If you skip physical activity to watch TV, ignore or cancel it with friends and family, or end up watching three or four programs without wanting to, it could be a red flag that your TV viewing is out of control. … There is a clear difference between this and your scheduled viewing of your favorite show.

Plan your TV time

Make it a goal to do other things before watching TV, such as walking for 30 minutes before sitting down to enjoy your favorite show. I set a similar goal – tying TV viewing to physical habits and productivity – which helped me better balance my viewing time with other areas of my life. Treehugger suggests setting a timer for a preset TV viewing duration, or you can use your TV’s sleep timer to turn off automatically so that it isn’t a constant source of distraction. Like most habits, you can gradually change your browsing habits until you learn to shorten your browsing time.

If you don’t like the idea of ​​a timer, try limiting the number of programs you watch, for example by choosing one episode at a time. The principle is the same: you can gradually reduce the number of episodes you watch until you find the schedule that suits you best.

Physically change your surroundings

Removing triggers can be an effective way to distance yourself from the addict. You can put your TV in a closet, disguise it with art, or find other creative ways to hide your TV instead of being the centerpiece of a room. You can also have fewer TVs and keep them in fewer rooms by starting with giving away TVs that you can afford to part with. This helps to minimize the urge to watch TV by eliminating visual association with the TV itself.

Remember to act at your own pace, and as with other addictions, there are professional resources to help. If you are struggling with a serious addiction, a great place to start – it’s Hotline Department of substance abuse and mental health by phone 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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