Watching too much TV could mean you’re sad
I know I’m battling a case of the blues when I stare at the television screen for hours.
Several studies have shown that those who watch a lot of TV are unhappy and even depressed. According to an article published on Feb. 3, 2009 in the Los Angeles Times website, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh looked at the media habits of 4,142 healthy adolescents and calculated that each additional hour of TV watched per day boosted the odds of becoming depressed by 8 percent.
TV can be an escape from reality. At times, we look for a vice that will enable us to zone out and ignore the stresses of daily life every now and then. It is too simple to turn on the “idiot box” and let our brains go numb for a bit during a “That 70’s Show” marathon.
I can recall a time when I was going through a rough period in my life and spent much of my time confined to my bedroom watching television. Even now, it becomes clear my mood is somber when I cannot push the “off” button on the remote.
One study based out of the Archives of General Psychiatry tracked 4,000 adolescents for seven years in order to determine what correlation television watching had with the likelihood of the participants developing symptoms of depression. The study concluded that those who watched more television had significantly greater odds of developing depression for each additional hour of daily use.
A book I once read regarding happiness had a small chapter entitled “Turn off the TV”. In that chapter, one quote that always runs through my mind when I am debating to either watch the newest episode of “Family Guy” or play a game of “Uno!” with friends, is “TV robs us of our time and never gives it back.” I picture those words and decide I would rather spend my time socializing and making fun memories.
Another factor contributing to the television-depression link are the programs and commercials displayed on a variety of channels with the intention of “improving” our lives by advertising weight loss, plastic surgery and other superficial, easy “fix its,” These can be seen on the majority of cable and even local stations. Every two minutes a commercial will appear with the newest method of wrinkle reduction and the latest magical remedy to cure under-eye circles; no wonder so many of today’s youth conjure up a poor image of themselves and develop depression or become unhappy.
In my life lately, the TV has been off a majority of the time because I do not have any spare hours to spend watching TV. When I do, it is for no more than a half an hour as opposed to the six plus hours I would spend several years ago. I was actually looking forward to having cable TV when I moved up to college, as I do not have it back home. However, since I’ve been at school, my time has been filled with classes, homework, work and friends. Currently, I have no time for TV.
Of course, it’s sometimes nice to relax every once and awhile and watch an episode of your favorite show after a long day. If one is immersed in watching TV at every time of day or night, they are probably not happy; I know I was not.
Instead of being glued to the tube, my suggestion is to read, surf the internet, go for a walk or spend some time with a few friends. This is time spent much more wisely.