Okay, so we know that watching too much TV is not good for us. But recently I came across a great little book called The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, by David Niven, Ph.D., 2000.
What's interesting about this particular book is that each 'secret' is supported by psychological evidence, and which is followed by an excerpt from a cited study.
One of my favorite secrets was "Turn off the TV", which suggests asking ourselves 'Is this something I want to see?' and only turning it on when there is something specific you wish to watch. Use your newly liberated hours to spend time with loved ones, do something you enjoy, or reserve quiet time to yourself.
"Without TV, you can do something actively fun instead of passively distracting."
As for the clinical anecdote, Wu (1998) found that, "Watching too much TV can triple our hunger for more possessions, while reducing our personal contentment by about 5 percent for every hour a day we watch."
We thank the book's author, David Niven, and the people who carried out studies on this topic, for giving us such insight. But of course, deep down we all know our time is better spent than flipping aimlessly through space.
Gatha for Daily Life: Mind and television receive what I choose. I select well-being and nourish joy.
(From 201 Little Buddhist Reminders: Gathas for Your Daily Life)