What is too much TV time?

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gives them. It might be ‘‘re­lax­ation’’ or ‘‘to dis­tract my­self from my prob­lems’’ or ‘‘fun’’. If I were to sug­gest you change some­thing with­out find­ing out what gives you the feel­ing you are seek­ing from the screen, and help you find an­other way to ob­tain that, then you would most likely re­turn to your orig­i­nal be­hav­iour.

Re­cent re­search found that study par­tic­i­pants com­monly re­flected that tele­vi­sion had some­how ‘‘ab­sorbed or sucked out their en­ergy’’, leav­ing them de­pleted. They said they had more difficulty con­cen­trat­ing after view­ing than be­fore, and that, in con­trast, they rarely in­di­cated such difficulty after read­ing. After play­ing sports or en­gag­ing in hob­bies, peo­ple re­ported im­prove­ments in mood, yet after watch­ing tele­vi­sion, peo­ple’s moods were about the same or worse than be­fore they be­gan view­ing.

Small amounts of tele­vi­sion can be OK, de­pend­ing on the top­ics you are watch­ing. In small doses, some stud­ies say, it can even be ben­e­fi­cial. Prob­lems with en­ergy, how­ever, be­gin to emerge when tele­vi­sion view­ing be­comes ex­ces­sive. And the three hours or more a day is ex­ces­sive.

Keep a diary for a week to track your view­ing habits.

Plac­ing a limit on how much tele­vi­sion you watch is also a good idea. Try your best to be se­lec­tive about the shows you watch rather than just watch­ing what­ever hap­pens to be on.

And next time you are in front of the tele­vi­sion, ask your­self this: Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered. are you watch­ing tele­vi­sion be­cause you feel bored or lonely, or per­haps you have lost touch with other ways of re­lax­ing? If this is the case, brain­storm all of the things you could do in­stead of watch­ing tele­vi­sion. For in­stance, you could cre­ate some real-food snacks to have ready for the days ahead, read a book, go for a walk, med­i­tate, phone a friend you haven’t spo­ken with for a while, watch your chil­dren sleep, or even start ex­pand­ing on a new idea you have had or plan a trip away.

By en­gag­ing in more ac­tive or restora­tive tasks, you may no­tice that your en­ergy lev­els in­crease, and you are also more likely to feel hap­pier, too.

Prob­lems with en­ergy be­gin to emerge with ex­ces­sive tele­vi­sion view­ing.

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