Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

Many of us are addicts, turning the television on in the evening out of boredom or to seek distraction from everyday life. Then, hours later, we find we are still bored.
It’s like yawning: your body is actually screaming for oxygen, and you’re better off going for a run than crawling into bed. If your mind is seeking distraction and relaxation, there are better ways than flopping onto the sofa and passively watching, experiencing intermittent irritation with what you see on the screen. Have a go at cooking a lavish meal, write a letter, potter around the house or meditate, learn to juggle.
Without television we can be more ourselves. However, one need not have an aversion to television. On one of those dozens of channels there is always – well, nearly always – something worth watching.
And yet… a while ago Moscow’s television antenna went out of service and the city’s residents went for days without television. After recovering from the initial shock, Muscovites went to visit friends and enjoyed doing things with family members or housemates. It made the news. Who actually benefited from getting the antenna repaired? The good news for Muscovites – and anyone else who is interested – is that the path to their friends and their own life is very short: they only have to press the ‘off’ button.
Tips for regaining control over your television:
* Determine the maximum number of hours of television you will watch each week. Then take that week’s television guide and highlight what seems interesting. Whittle the selection down until you reach your maximum.
* Lose or break your remote control. (First check to see whether the television can be manually operated.
* Record what you want to see and watch the recording, never the live program. Fast forward through the unnecessary commercials.
* If you have children, never make television part of a reward or punishment and help your kids to find other things to do with their time.
*Declare one evening a week ‘television free.’ Make it more fun by unplugging all the (electronic) equipment in the house and turning off the lights. Light candles.
This is a summary of an article that was originally published in the Jan/Feb 2004 issue of The Intelligent Optimist. Members can read the original article here, or you can sign up for a membership here.

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