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TV Watchers Are Unhappy Compared to People Who Watch Less

Healthy To-Do: Just Say No to TV

I will admit after a long day of working and mothering, sitting on the couch, remote in hand, always sounds like the perfect way to wind down and decompress. But I am here to say, don't give into the new opiate of the masses, turn off the boob tube and do something else — it could make you happy.

Watching TV is pleasurable, I am not arguing with that, but a newly released long-term study from the University of Maryland found that those who watch more TV are less happy. The 34-year-long study, involving over 45,000 participants, found that watching TV made viewers happy in the short term, but had no long-term benefits, leaving people a little dissatisfied with their choice to veg on the coach. Watching TV interferes with activities that might be less enjoyable in the moment, but provide long-term satisfaction. The study cited socializing, reading book, and sex as activities happy people did about 30 percent more than the unhappy TV watchers.

We all know that there are surprising health benefits associated with getting it on, but another activity that leaves folks feeling relaxed and pleased with themselves is exercise. Hey, I am FitSugar; so of course I am going to argue the benefits of choosing working out over TV.

So instead of watching an hour of television tonight, try just a 30 minutes. Then do so some yoga, call a friend, get it on with your partner, or read a book. It just might help you become the healthy, happy you.


Join The Conversation
klreynol klreynol 8 years
That makes sense -- my boyfriend and I have two shows we watch for a grand total of: 2 hours of TV per week! We rarely have the TV on otherwise, and if we do we're usually doing something like playing a game, working out, our respective hobbies (knitting for me, computer fixing for him), or playing with/grooming the dog. Our housemate, on the other hand, spends at least 6 hours a day watching his TV (no joke) and is not a very happy person. I can't imagine sitting in front of the TV so much!
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
Other than watching The Office and Gossip Girl I never sit and watch tv. My wedding planning while watching TV, or graphic design, photo editing, magazine reading, etc is all done while watching TV. I also have DVRs to record all that junk for later. I don't think anyone sits and watches it anymore.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I watch TV when I work out and there are a handful of shows that I really love. Every day, during my lunch hour, I try to get to the gym to get a 25 minute bike ride in while I catch part of "The Doctors"'s probably my most favorite show on TV!
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
:WOOHOO: for no cable! I dont have it either. I hate TV.
melizzle melizzle 8 years
No cable and I'm pretty happy. I honestly don't know when I'd find the time to watch TV!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well - i think that it's interesting that they are trying to associate tv with long term happiness but i guess anything is possible right? in any event, i don't usually have all that much time to devote to TV so i don't know if it really affects my overall happiness anyway.
crayolasky crayolasky 8 years
I do limit my TV time by only watching the couple of shows that make me really happy and I can't miss them! :) or I tivo them. But that doesn't mean I don't balance it out with other things like exercise. Often I will do my workout while watching TV (or music). As far as evening activities go, I much prefer reading.
Advah Advah 8 years
I usually try to use my time in front of the TV (or laptop in my case) for a workout - crunches, squats... I recently started doing some Physique57 exercises (ridiculously painful, btw!) and it makes me feel better to do that while watching an episode of something instead of just sitting there doing nothing.
wambalus wambalus 8 years
The more I do other things in the evening the happier I am. Knitting, reading the paper, cooking, cleaning, I just like being active. Watching TV is so passive - it's like sleeping with your eyes open.
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