Happy people watch less tv

happy

John Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, published a study that analyzed the activities of happy people. What do happy people do with their time?

The study found that happy people spent time socializing, going to church, visiting others and reading newspapers. And what did they not do? The study found that happy people engaged in one activity less often than unhappy people. Happy people watched less tv

Surprised? Well no Kate, we read the title of this blog. I wasn’t surprised either. And yet according to the latest Nielsen data, the average television viewer watches more than 151 hours of TV per month or 5 hours a day an all-time high. Yikes.

Common sense tells me that most people would be happier, if they watched less tv and spent more time strengthing their relationships, and doing whatever it is they’re passionate about. While watching tv is entertaining, it’s hard to imagine someone lying on their death bed thinking – “ya know, I really wish I’d watched more tv.” I binged (the MS version of googled) ‘death bed thoughts’ and found this same sentiment in a post called Deep Death Bed Thoughts (by Stephen Mills):

“Lying on my death bed, I probably won’t remember anything or think about anything from tens of thousands of hours I spent watching TV during my life.”

So true. What do you think? Could happiness be as simple as watching less tv and spending more time socializing? Please leave a Comment.

Speaking of happiness. I enjoy reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen researches happiness and writes about what works and what doesn’t. Her articles are definitely worth reading.

The inspiration for this post came from What Happy People Don’t Do by Roni Caryn Rabin.

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4 thoughts on “Happy people watch less tv

  1. agreed. when my husband and i turn the tv off we communicate so much better and our stress levels go way down. i think (like with video games) we tend to wrap ourselves in the tv so much we take on the stresses of the characters.

  2. We threw away our TV in 1989 and have never regretted it. Just in the last few years we have begun to watch DVDs but not every night and not more than the time of one movie. And sometimes we even resent the time that takes and stop for a week or so.
    Walking, cooking from scratch, reading, talking, you name it, can all be accomplished so much better without trying to fit them around the TV. Not to mention furniture arrangement.

  3. I wrote an article about how my husband and I turned off the cable when we realized we were spending $80 a month just to watch a few hours of TV a week. Even though we didn’t watch that much in the first place, it was amazing how much more time we had when we didn’t watch at all. Time to talk, read, take walks, prepare meals, and more “creative” endeavors like a date where we shared our favorite five songs with each other. After the year was up, we didn’t reconnect and ended up going almost five years without cable. Last year, we got it hooked back up because it was an election year, and we had house swap guests that we thought might want to watch TV. I definitely agree that watching too much leads to unhappiness for a lot of reasons, and the research supports that.

  4. I wrote an article about tv once:

    http://hundredgoals.com/2009/02/03/kill-your-tv/

    Of course, I just ranted about it…you actually did your homework! Good job.

    We recently disconnected our cable and haven’t had television in over a month. There are times when I miss the background noise, but overall I can live without it. We are reading more and we even went outside for a walk and a bike ride, both in the same day! ;)

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