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Do You Plan on Spending 10 Years of Your Life Watching Television?

03/08/2015 20:21 BST | Updated 01/08/2016 10:59 BST

Recent research reveals that we on average watch 10 years of TV during our lives. That's a decade! Even if we live to be 80+ that's still a large percentage of our time spent doing not very much!

In the 'olden days', before television, people had to amuse themselves. They would read, play board games, do crafts, go for walks, spend time in the garden, visit friends, talk to each other, or just simply go to bed a little earlier.

Yes, TV can be an easy default, an unchallenging option, a reliable companion, a quick de-stressor, a way to relax, but do you plan on spending 10 years of your life watching TV? These statistics certainly make one think.

- Single people might feel that TV is an easier choice than making the effort to push themselves into other people's friendship groups. It can be tough joining activities or accepting invitations that might not work out satisfactorily. But we all need to sometimes make an effort and get out of our comfort zone if we want things to change.

Saying 'yes' to an offer or inviting people round for a coffee or a snack might seem hard at first but, like anything worth having, the effort often leads to unexpected opportunities. And practice makes perfect, gets easier over time and can often result in being invited out more, in becoming automatically included in other people's plans.

This adjustment to our approach to life can result in a positive change to our attitude, self-esteem and personal confidence levels; a change from perhaps feeling nervous or embarrassed at speaking up, feeling unwanted, invisible or ignored. We all feel better when we've got things to look forward to, plans in our diaries and reasons to dress attractively and take good care of ourselves.

- Stressed or busy people often find that TV is an easy default for quickly de-stressing and relaxing. They turn on the set and then collapse for a couple of hours in front of the flickering pictures to unwind. But they consequently often eat and drink more than they would wish, end up leading unhealthy sedentary lives and going to bed rather later than they really ought.

If this is you, would there be some benefit in looking at how you spend your time away from home so that you can return feeling less exhausted in the evenings? It might be of benefit to introduce efficient time management strategies - a diary, better ways of working, ways to plan your schedule, learning when you need to say 'no'.

Some people feel better, less tired when they commit to some regular exercise, like a walk or an early morning or post-work swim or gym visit. This is especially important for people who have sedentary jobs and who are required to think and plan a lot. People who have tough manual jobs often benefit from more cerebral activities after work. It can be a good alternative to television to agree to some mid-week activities, like sharing a meal with friends, joining a class or agreeing to join others in their activities.

- Families, people with children, can find that TV is an inexpensive, convenient form of entertainment, a great way of keeping everyone quiet. But in later years might you prefer to look back and reflect with affection on the games of football, walks in the park, bird watching trips, afternoons doing crafts or playing board games.

Yes, television offers a quick, reliable, easy entertainment option with so many channels and homes that have sets in nearly every room and there is certainly plenty of choice, something for everyone to watch.

But discovering that we spend so many years of our lives watching television, maybe the time has come to evaluate just how important it has become in our lives. Maybe it's time for you to question if you plan on spending 10 years of your life watching television.