It is hard to resist watching TV. Every time you see a remote, you just want to click the power button to turn the TV on.
It requires good mental strength to ignore that darn remote. I fail many times because that remote looks to me like a shiny object. And, without giving a second thought, I take it in my hand.
You can relate to me on the excitement when you know that there is a nice movie or TV series coming on an OTT platform.
But, have you ever observed that despite multiple options of channels or OTTs or video apps on your TV, you don’t always feel satisfaction after watching TV?
At the time when you know what to watch and where, it is an easy decision.
But what if you don’t know what to watch? You just keep hopping from one OTT to another, assuming you have multiple OTTs. Or, hopping from one channel to another if you watch cable TV.
If you have already watched all of the good stuff, you are doomed. After spending a good amount of time scrolling and switching OTTs or channels, you feel exhausted.
You either compromise with yourself and see a less entertaining program for the sake of watching TV or switch off the TV unhappily.
When you find yourself in such a situation, you should know that you have overconsumed the darn TV.
But why does it happen? Let’s look into the problems associated with excessive TV consumption.
TV is a fascinating world.
With tools like sound, special effects, and storytelling techniques, TV has an unparalleled ability to transport us to different realms of different genres. We feel various emotions when we watch it.
So when we watch TV, we feel like it offers us a temporary escape.
Escape from the daily routine. Escape from the chaos of this world. Escape from reality.
And this is where the problem starts. We tend to ignore the fact that the movies or TV series we are watching are made purely for entertainment and commercial purposes.
They do not portray the realities of our daily lives.
Though we feel less worried and less stressed when we watch TV, it doesn’t eliminate them. Once we switch off the TV, those worries or stresses come back into our minds.
We are not achieving anything in real life by following reel life.
Let’s look into it through an example.
Example: Imagine you are binge-watching a drama series where lead characters live extraordinary lives. They live in beautiful houses. They travel to exotic destinations around the world. They eat food in Michelin-rated restaurants.
In their world, there is an abundance of excitement and adventures.
But when the screen fades to black and credits roll, reality checks in. We are abruptly thrust back into our own, perhaps less thrilling, reality. In comparison, we start seeing our lives as more ordinary than those characters.
When we face such a contrast, it can lead to a sense of disconnection. The difference between a fictional world and your reality hits hard, leaving an emptiness that the TV series’s conclusion couldn’t fill.
We feel dissatisfied.
We face another challenge when we indulge in binge-watching. The more we consume the TV, the more desensitized we become to the content.
TV programs and movies have certain formulas. When we see a new formula, we feel thrill and excitement.
But when we keep watching movies or TV programs having a similar formula, our initial excitement and thrill gradually wane.
You start feeling that you are not enjoying such movies or shows anymore. You start consuming more content in an attempt to recapture the initial magic.
However, when you fail to recapture that initial enchantment, a sense of dissatisfaction sets in. You start craving more for something new. And, it becomes a cycle.
Example: Picture starting a new TV series in the thriller genre. You find yourself completely engrossed in the characters and plot twists. You feel intense emotions here and there.
Yet, after watching several consecutive episodes, you feel you are not having those intense emotions now. They are diminishing.
What was once thrilling to you, it becomes a routine now. You feel less and less joy.
This desensitization is a common pitfall of excessive TV consumption.
When you binge-watch a TV series or flip through channels for extended periods, you feel mental fatigue.
After watching TV for a long time, you may find that things that were stimulating you in the beginning are not exciting you now.
Our brain can’t digest a constant influx of information and stimuli. It overwhelms our brains.
Example: Imagine a scenario where you decide to binge-watch an entire season of a thrilling and fast-paced TV series over the weekend.
This show has many intricate plot twists. There are many suspenseful moments. You love the intense character development.
Initially, you find yourself completely engrossed in the story, and you move from one episode to the next.
However, as the many episodes pass, you notice a shift in your mental state. You were excited and enjoying the initial episodes. But, now you are going through mental fatigue.
Your mind starts showing signs that it is struggling to process the constant bombardment of information and emotional highs and lows, presented throughout the intricate storyline.
Initially, you were loving the plot twists, but now you are not appreciating them. Your excitement and engagement diminish with each next episode.
So, this example illustrates that when you subject yourself to prolonged exposure to intense and complex content, you suffer from mental fatigue and overstimulation.
Initially, you were getting satisfaction from watching TV, but not anymore.
Switching on a TV is easy, but switching it off is hard.
We can spend hours in front of it thinking we are relaxing or entertaining ourselves. But once we switch it off, we realize we have wasted time on mediocre things.
We started feeling guilty that we could have utilized the time for something productive. We could have spent that time on our important goals or projects.
Or, we could have engaged in a more fulfilling activity.
Example: Let’s take a scenario where someone, we call her Manya, has a goal to create her personal blog.
Manya is enthusiastic and brought the domain and hosting for the blog. She got her blog designed and developed. Initially, she hosted a few blogs and then stopped.
Because, after a long day at work, Manya often succumbs to the allure of the TV.
In the evening, instead of taking time to write a blog and growing her blog, she spends hours binge-watching TV series.
Her plans for the blog take a back seat to the instant gratification the television provides.
As weeks pass by, Manya realizes that she is not writing blogs. Her habit of watching TV is making her less productive.
The time that could have spent creating a side hustle and pursuing her passion is wasted by passive TV consumption.
In this example, we see how excessive TV watching, if not managed, can interfere with personal goals and hinder the pursuit of activities that bring a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
The TV world is full of glamorous lifestyles. You see ideal relationships. You become awestruck by watching thrilling adventures.
When we see such things on TV, we feel inadequate.
We start comparing our lives with the characters’s lives. We forget that what we see on TV as perfect things are actually curated narratives.
These narratives create unrealistic expectations, leaving us dissatisfied with our own realities.
Example: Imagine you have been binge-watching a popular romantic drama series. The storyline revolves around a couple.
You see that their relationship is amazing. There are grand gestures and romantic surprises. You love it when you see that onscreen couple enjoying perfect moments.
These characters are wonderful beings and navigate any challenges effortlessly. Their love seems to defy all odds.
As you immerse yourself in this fictional world, you start desiring similar romantic gestures and moments in your life.
But, when you come back to reality, you may start feeling dissatisfied in your own relationship. Because there is a lack of grand gestures. There is an absence of constant surprises.
You start comparing your own relationships with the romanticism portrayed on TV. You may notice occasional disagreements. And it may create a sense of disappointment, making you question the authenticity of your own relationship.
So, this example shows that you start having unrealistic expectations from the TV world. You forget that the TV series is a scripted fantasy.
You feel dissatisfaction when you do not realize your expectations. Those expectations that you have set for your own relationship after watching that perfect romantic TV series.
You may struggle to notice the difference between fantasy and the real world.
It is true that we live in a world today where the screen dominates our attention.
So, it is crucial for us to critically examine our habits and how they are impacting our well-being.
While we enjoy watching TV, it falls short of providing the genuine satisfaction and fulfillment we crave.
Instead of watching TV, we can indulge in meaningful experiences. We can go outside and build authentic connections by meeting people.
We can use that time for our personal goals and personal growth.
So, the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through channels or OTTs, ask yourself: Is this the best use of my time, or can I utilize it in a more fulfilling way?
A word to the wise is enough.
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