Every time you turn on your television you can watch episodes of individuals who are obese, in debt, ill or having relationship difficulties. Often there is a therapist or expert who is responsible to solve all the problems of those involved within a thirty-minute timeframe.
I have been curious as to why these shows are so popular and have come up with a few reasons:
- You realize you are not alone - There is some comfort in knowing that other people have experienced the same problems that you have. This is one of the powerful aspects of going to group therapy. You see other people are going through similar trials and can relate to them.
- There is always someone who is worse off - It is tempting to feel sorry for yourself at times. When you meet other people who have bigger problems than yours, however, you will likely change your focus from yourself to the other person. This past year I spent a great deal of time with my sister who was handicapped and could only move her head. Her situation made my challenges seem trivial.
- This is a way to learn strategies - Those who are truly motivated to make positive changes can use reality television to gain knowledge and develop techniques without having to pay the expert. The problem, of course, is that the training is not customized to your situation and therefore might not be effective.
- Television can be an escape - Some people use television as a distraction from their own lives and problems. It can be quite mesmerizing to watch one show after another while neglecting your own responsibilities and challenges but this doesn't help you.
- We all like a happy ending - Seeing miraculous change occur in a short period of time is a very attractive prospect. Most people, however, cannot afford a complete makeover for their home or business and it is not at all realistic to think that renovations can be completed in a period of just two days.
- Television is entertainment - Producers attempt to capture the attention of those who are bored, can't sleep or just want something to fill what could be lonely hours. They find out what people want by doing surveys and the prevalence of reality television shows implies that this is what people want. Dozens of channels are available around the clock and because you can tune in any time of the day or night a lot of shows need to be available to keep the viewers entertained.
Are you hooked on watching programs about inmates? Do you find yourself searching for renovation or business makeover shows? Is your attention captured by the debt or weight reduction themes? Are there other reality shows that you find yourself watching for hours at a time?
Maybe it's time to start thinking about why you are attracted to the television watching and what you might be neglecting in your own life during the time you are just sitting there as a passive observer.