About four years ago, I made the very purposeful decision NOT to purchase a new TV, or to watch a series online via Netflix/streaming. What happened was an explosion of personal health, professional knowledge and advancement, and personal growth.
While you may not want to go all-in as I did, if you simply decrease the amount of time you watch TV, you can experience some significant changes in your life.
Below are 10 benefits of not watching TV.
Top 10 Benefits of Not Watching TV/Less Streaming
1. Better health and fitness.
Yes, this list must start with better health and fitness. After a long stressful day, many of us may not think that coming home and plopping down in front of the TV/computer to watch our favorite show is bad for our health – but it couldn’t be worse.
Not only are you missing out on the opportunity to MOVE (giving the mind and body a fantastic outlet for work-related stress), but moving helps keep your waistline down. Exercising also helps control cortisol (the hormone for stress) levels, helping us to elevate our mood and improve our cognitive function.
Other wonderful benefits of not watching TV will take us to point #2…
2. You’ll eat fewer calories.
Did you know that eating in front of a screen – any screen – leads to consumption of more than 10-25 percent more calories? Or that you eat more calories later in the day (unless you’ve run a marathon or finished a 60+ mile bike ride)?
Simply eating at a table (at home), with NO screens, and with friends or family, will not only decrease the amount of calories you eat, but can also get you a head start on item #3.
3. More time spent connecting with others.
Up until the late 1950’s or so, when television began to become more readily available to the average family, most families and friends gathered together for the evening meal. They shared their experiences throughout the day, connected with one another, and brought their group closer together.
After all, don’t you recall your parents or grandparents saying something along the lines “Call me what you want, just don’t call me late to dinner!”?
The evening meal is a staple for a healthy community, family, or any social group. So if you’re looking to get to know those around you better, get away from the TV, and host a dinner party!
4. More time to read.
Did you know that the average American reads less than five books a year? Seems like people are too busy WATCHING Reading Rainbow reruns, than READING the books it recommends. I’m pretty sure LeVar Burton is crying somewhere, wondering where it all went wrong.
We’re each consuming media all day: on our smart phones, laptops, televisions, that we forget about these incredibly valuable things called BOOKS. They carry with them incredible new worlds, new perspectives, and new things that can help us become better professionals, hobbyists, family members, workers, and friends.
As one of the benefits of not watching TV, I went from having read 8-10 books in my first year (mostly professional advancement), to reading 31. To answer the question you probably have in your head:
Yes, I saw immense growth professionally, and in my bank account. And you will, too, should you read more professional/self-development books instead of watching TV or streaming a series.
But you don’t have to read non-fiction…fiction is important as well! Keeping our imagination involved and alive is just as important as learning about the complexities of helping a business gain a larger piece of the market segment.
5. Save some cash.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as widely true as it had been in the past. That’s because many of the cable companies have wised up, and now give better bundle deals when you package internet, phone, and cable TV. But do some research and see.
I had one client save $1,500 in a year by cutting her cable and Netflix subscriptions completely. She rewarded herself at the end by taking a vacation in the Bahamas with her newly earned body of 18 percent body fat, and 12 pound weight loss. This brings us to more benefits of not watching TV:
6. Slim your waist, as you fatten your bank account.
Yes, this could be included in points 1 or 5, but it really is important enough that we’re covering it in a separate point. You’ll rack up the savings now that you have 1.75-2.5 more hours a day with which to cook.
Not only will you have more control over your waistline by learning or experimenting with cooking, but you’ll also rack up the dough with all the money you save from NOT ordering in, or going out to eat.
The average American spends from $900 to $1,100 a year JUST on Take-Out! This doesn’t include eating out at restaurants. Why not earn a better figure, and take yourself on an all-expenses paid vacation to your favorite tropical island, with the money and weight you’ve saved by cooking at home?
7. Move on up at work.
For those who enjoy their work, or who have been working their way to the next level, we can use your newly found 1.75-2.5 hours to put towards becoming a more valuable worker. Make use of that time by learning about the competition, prospecting for new clients, or making your current project out-of-this-world.
8. Allow you to learn a new language.
In the time you have to watch TV, you could be learning a new language – something most Americans fail to continue beyond High School. Not only does learning a new language open you up to new cultures and new connections with people, but it also helps keep various parts of your brain working well.
9. Re-ignite that hobby!
Perhaps you enjoyed photography back in college or High School, but haven’t picked it up as you can’t seem to find the time. Or maybe you enjoyed woodworking but just can’t seem to get back in the shop…
One of the best benefits of not watching TV is replacing that time with artistic endeavors. Not only do hobbies allow one to get in touch with their creative side, but they also inspire us to explore new and more complex projects.
10. More sleep!
When I used to work in EMS on the Ambulance, a number of my partners used to “have to have the TV on” in order to fall asleep. This often led to their channel surfing for hours on end as they searched for “something to fall asleep to”.
Not only does falling asleep in front of the TV lead to valuable sleep time being lost, but the quality of your sleep is much lower. This is due in large part to the blue-light that screens emit.
Ditch all screens for the last 30-45 minutes before bed, and pick up an actual book. Or spend the time talking with a friend or significant other instead.
Bonus Benefits of Not Watching TV: Getting Educated
From break dancing, baking, cooking, to painting, community centers, community colleges, and other venues offer adult continuing education courses for a variety of interests. Hit the Web and do a little research to find something you like.
I may not be an expert, but after having taken a few salsa lessons, I found it to be a great alternative for hitting the gym. It was also an awesome venue to meet new people.
TV is often seen as harmless entertainment time. But as you can see from these 10 benefits of not watching TV, your ‘entertainment time’ may be coming at a cost of something that you would enjoy far more. Things that make you feel MUCH better about yourself, help you learn more, improve your bank account, and also enhance your life at work!
If you find it hard to go cold-turkey as I did, no worries. Start by decreasing your TV/online streaming time by 30-45 minutes every two weeks. Replace it with one of the above, and see how you feel after the time period.
I’d be surprised if you don’t look to cut back even more TV/streaming time to dedicate more to your newfound “free time”.