A Year of Mindfulness – 32 – Watching

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Is it just me, or does this week’s title make you think of a stalker? Don’t worry, there’s nothing weird about this week’s task, it’s actually one that I already implemented in my life a while back, so it was fairly easy!

This week’s task card referred to the season change and I thought it was interesting that the card was so apt at the correct time of year. It opened with ‘As the dark winter nights close in…’ and whilst we’re not fully in Winter yet, we are definitely heading into Autumn at full speed and the nights are most certainly darker.

The idea this week was that with the Winter nights drawing in, the urge to stay in and curl up in front of the TV grows. The cards were clearly written pre-COVID as I think I can speak for everybody when I say we’ve had more than enough time in front of the TV this year and, actually, it would be quite nice to get outside socialising again!

The idea of this task was to bring mindfulness to my viewing experiences, and watch TV making sure to put my phone out of reach, and not do anything else whilst watching. No eating, no drinking, just immerse myself in the TV. I should pay attention to the emotions and sensations I felt whilst watching, and this would cultivate a more mindful viewing experience.

I’ve actually been doing this task for a while anyway. Admittedly, I do eat whilst watching TV, but I never have my phone on me anymore whilst watching. This is because I find watching TV such a mindful exercise anyway and I relish the chance to immerse myself in something without my phone buzzing every 10 seconds with notifications. It’s such a switch-off activity, so why would I be glued to my phone? I already feel like a bloody slave to the thing (more on that in another post!).

When James watches TV, he is always scrolling or looking at something on his phone. I don’t understand how he can keep up with story lines, never mind feel rejuvenated. But he’s not really into mindfulness, and when I’ve tried to raise the benefits with him he looks at me with a look that says “are you finished?” and proceeds to scroll through his phone. Oh well, can’t say I don’t try!

So generally, no phone whilst watching TV, end of story. There is, however, one exception where I’ll have my phone on me, and that’s when I’m watching something that’s tense, scary or unsettling. I find that I can’t cope with the surge of emotions I feel! I try to tell myself it’s just a TV show and it’s not real but it’s no use. I need something to distract myself temporarily and briefly. I don’t have enough time to whip a book out or anything like that, but I will grab my phone and open an app or something to get me out of the tense state. James laughs and thinks it’s ridiculous, but I’ve always been the same. I feel emotions too strongly, I swear.

So if you are somebody who watches TV whilst scrolling through your phone, I recommend you give your brain a break and have a go at this challenge! Have a go at thoroughly immersing yourself in the viewing experience – see how you get on! And no, I don’t mean to preach here, I’m just sharing tips that might benefit you, as usual! At worst, you’ll crave your phone (and then I’d question whether you might be a little addicted?) and at best, you’ll discover a new mindfulness practice and an excuse to sit in front of the TV (self care and all that!). See – nothing to lose!

See you next week!

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