Negative Television Related To Your Thoughts
Throughout this process, I have challenged myself to do things differently than I have ever done before. That means, to receive new results, I have to make significant, at times uncomfortable, out of the box changes. I have talked about how hard that this can be, and that it is a process. However, what I’ve noticed even more is that the changes that are of greatest importance come from the inside, starting with your thoughts, and what you choose to subject yourself to.
Do you think that there is a relationship between watching negative television and your thoughts? I do. This is somewhat related to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which states that people learn behaviors from what they focus on. The behavior is not automatically copied, but there is a thought process that we have before we duplicate the behavior. Do you think that watching violence, and negative television shows, have a negative impact on your thoughts and behaviors towards others? More specifically, does what you watch on television cause you to have more self-damaging thoughts, or act more negatively towards others, or is one not related to the other?
It’s Just (Negative) Television
Television is viewed as an escape to some, entertainment to others, or a way to just relax. I have read that on average people spend between five to seven hours daily watching television. Can you imagine what you are subjecting yourself to subconsciously by doing this?
There have been studies that suggest watching violence can lead to emotional numbness, decreased empathy, and learning more violent behaviors. Watching negative television, can lead to more negative thoughts and cause us to view our lives as worse than what they are. Other research indicates that watching reality television can lead to a negative self-image and self-esteem, it can also lead people to believe that engaging in poor behavior towards others has no consequences.
Let’s Be Honest Here
Full disclosure; I have been known to become one with my couch and watch a marathon or three of Real Housewives of “Wherever”, and Love and Hip Hop of “Whatever” was currently airing, I was hooked and loved every minute of it, and was perfectly content with binge watching nonsense and nothingness.
I have heard some reality television referred to as mindless; because you really don’t have to pay attention to it to follow what’s going on. There is no specific concept to the show, or real thought placed into what is going on. Now that I look back on it, I’m not sure that I actually gained anything by watching these shows. Because, honestly, that just isn’t my reality.
What I did notice from the shows that I did watch, was that the women were often negatively portrayed. They were seen arguing and even physically fighting one another. Once the argument came to an end, there was no real resolution, but more discord, hate, and vindictiveness. Also, most of the women were portrayed as though having designer clothes, bags, and shoes were the only things that they cared about. These shows seldom celebrated the positive accomplishments that these women made, but rather concentrated on the negative aspects of their lives and their relationships.
The women that I know don’t behave in that way to their loved ones and friends. They fix their problems; and they certainly aren’t fighting one another, because they have too much to lose! They appreciate their blessings, and are a blessing to others. They strive to become better every day, and to be an example of positivity and love to those they meet.
Cut. It. Off.
After some introspection, I finally realized that I needed to cut it off. There was no benefit for me to watch these shows. It was a poor representation of women, and I no longer wanted to support it. Most people know that reality television isn’t real; but what the producers want you to see. Subconsciously, I believe people make comparisons to what they see on the screen, which leads to self-damaging thoughts and behaviors.
They watch the characters on the show behave badly, without consequence, and believe that those behaviors should be mimicked. You may see large homes, a designer wardrobe, and extravagant trips and fail to appreciate all that you have accomplished. For what?! What you have is enough. There is no reason to be led into a comparison trap over things that aren’t real. It just isn’t worth it.
What You Can Do
Watching negative shows can be a hard habit to break, but hey, it’s totally possible! Think about all the things that you can do with that time, and the positive impact on your life.
In place of watching negative shows you could:
- Watch shows that have a positive theme and represent your values.
- Faith based programming (my favorite is John Gray)
- Get your laugh on! I don’t know about you, but I think it is hard to fall into the comparison trap, or have self-damaging thoughts when laughing. How about you?
- Watch an educational program on channels like Discovery, TLC, or PBS. Watching this type of program will help with learning more about the world and increase your knowledge about other people, places and things.
- How about a ‘how-to’ show? Nothing beats learning something new; like a recipe, or making something old, new again.
- If all else fails, turn the television off. Spend some time reading a good book, learning something new (ahem, like blogging), exercising, or spending time with your loved ones.
What Do You Think?
Do you believe that negative television programming impacts your thoughts and behaviors? Better yet, have you ever watched a negative television show, and noticed it negatively impact you? If you have, what would happen if you just stopped? Do you think you would notice any changes?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!