what to do instead of television



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EVERY APRIL and September, a group of organizations sponsor the annual TV Turnoff Week. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is to help people discover how fulfilling and rewarding the alternatives can be. Studies consistently show that self-powered activities contribute far more to personal happiness than passive entertainment like television. Read more about that.

The idea is to use the time you normally reserve for television for things you "don't have the time for" such as these:

1. Take a long walk.

2. Go for a bike ride.

3. Spend time training your dog.

4. Make a special meal to share with someone.

5. Start a diary or journal.

6. Go for a hike in a natural setting.

7. Read.

8. Volunteer to help someone learn to read, or volunteer to help someone in some other way.

9. Plant a vegetable garden or some flowers.

10. Learn some jokes.

11. Visit a local bookstore.

12. Do something with a friend — go out to dinner or plant a garden or go for a walk and talk.

13. Go for a run, or do some other form of exercise.

14. Go fishing.

15. Make a gift for someone.

16. Play cards or checkers or board games. Waste time the old-fashioned way.

17. Find out what local bands are playing and go listen with someone.

18. Learn a foreign language.

19. Join a club that focuses on something you're really interested in — sailing club, gardening club, chess club, etc.

20. Go for a swim. Join a community swim team.

21. Go for a picnic or plan one.

22. Go to the zoo.

23. Paint something — a picture, a piece of furniture, a room.

24. Go dancing.

25. Go through your closet or garage and find things you can donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

26. Visit a museum. Bring a friend.

27. Join a community exercise group that walks or runs as a group.

28. Enter a 5K race to raise money for a worthy cause.

29. Ask an older family member to tell you a story about her or his childhood. Then write it down for posterity.

30. Organize your files.

31. Sit and think. This can be surprisingly rewarding.

32. Go on a constitutional.

33. Join a choir.

34. Go camping or plan a camping trip.

35. Sleep out in the back yard.

36. Plan a sleepover.

37. Write a letter to someone telling them something you really appreciate.

38. Make a list of things you are grateful for.

39. Attend a high school sporting event.

40. Volunteer for a charity.

41. Participate in your local community center or park activities.

42. Volunteer to tutor someone in reading, math, or computer skills.

43. Learn to play a musical instrument.

44. Do a jig-saw puzzle or crossword puzzle.

45. Visit the library. Browse or check out and participate in library activities.

46. Listen to talk radio with someone.

47. Call a grandparent and chat.

48. Go roller skating or ice skating.

49. Get some clay and sculpt something.

50. Start a project. A sewing project or art or craft project.

51. Whittle.

52. Make a list of things you don't have time for — things you want to do but can never get around to.

53. Kick back do nothing except listen to music.

54. Give someone a massage or learn to give one.

55. Get a massage.

56. Meditate. It's easier than you think.

57. Make a list of things you really want to learn but never feel you have time for. Pick the one you want the most, and start on it.

58. Do an antivirus scan of your own mind.

59. Set goals or get rid of some.

60. Start a hobby. What have you always been interested in?

61. Hang out with friends or family.

62. Participate in TV Turnoff Week.

63. Find ways to change your television watching habits. Start with this list.


Find out more on these websites:

The White Dot

Unplug Your Kids


Books for further reading:

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

Living Without the Screen: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television

Alternatives to TV Handbook

The Big Turnoff: Confessions of a TV-Addicted Mom Trying to Raise a TV-Free Kid

Amusing Ourselves to Death

Author: Adam Khan
author of the books, Self-Help Stuff That Works and Antivirus For Your Mind
and creator of the blog:
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