The One Common Habit of Unhappy People

Medically reviewed in January 2020

Happiness comes in many forms: sleeping until noon on Saturday, finding a twenty in your pocket, biting into a warm cookie.

But here's something that could put you squarely in the unhappy camp: spending too much time with the tube.

Happy-Time Pastimes
Studies confirm it. In analyzing 30 years worth of data collected from a national social-survey database as well as other previous studies, researchers found that people who considered themselves unhappy tended to watch significantly more TV than those who said they were very happy. Higher-spirited folks, they found, spent more time on other types of hobbies, including mingling with friends and family members, reading newspapers and attending religious services.

Don't Kill Your TV
Watching a little TV here and there isn't a huge threat to your quality of life, as long as you don't devote more time and energy to it than to your personal relationships, hobbies or other interests.

In addition to turning off the tube now and then, try these other mood-boosting maneuvers:

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