What is too much TV time?
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 email@example.com. 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.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional. Visit drlibby.com.
Problems with energy begin to emerge with excessive television viewing.