Are there actions in your life that you do mindlessly? For example, when you sit down to watch TV, do you choose the program? Or do you sit in front of whatever happens to be on, perhaps complaining (verbally or silently), “There’s nothing worth watching…”
A key process in reality therapy is self-evaluation. That is, look at what you are doing and ask yourself, “How is this working for me? Is it getting me what I want and need? Is it bringing me closer to the people I love? Is it aligning me more closely with my values?”
Those might sound like pretty heavy questions for a little mindless relaxation!
However, if you feel that there are parts of your life that are not working well, then what you are choosing for entertainment could be an interesting aspect to examine.
Whether you participate in mindless TV-watching or some other mindless-activity, try collecting some facts about how those activities affect you. Here are some questions to get you started:
- How do you feel while you are being mindlessly entertained? How do you feel afterward? Is it better or worse than you felt before? Do you find yourself feeling sad? Annoyed? Angry? Resentful? Or are you feeling happier, uplifted, inspired, motivated?
- What are you thinking? After you’ve been entertained, do you think that you are closer to how you want to be? Are you more productive? Ready to accomplish whatever it takes? Or do you feel further away, less capable, less energized, with less hope and optimism?
- How does your body react? Are you more tense and stressed? Or more relaxed and calm? Do you get a hankering for unhealthy foods? Or do you feel satisfied? Do you feel invigorated? At peace in your body? Or do you find yourself wishing you were someone else, someone with the attributes of the actors you are watching?
- In short, are your entertainment choices making your life better or worse?
Choice theory sees fun as a basic human need. Without a regular dose of fun in our lives, we aren’t satisfied.
Fun is often associated with passive activities— watching what other people have created, rather than creating something ourselves. And if passively watching TV, for example, is satisfying for you, then it’s your life and your choice.
However, if you evaluate how your entertainment choices are working for you and they come up lacking, then you might want to consider other choices!
Choice theory suggests that we have basic, genetic needs: to belong, to be free, to be recognized, to have fun, and of course, to survive.
Fun activities can be even more satisfying when they help satisfy other needs too. For example, hunting with a buddy or knitting with friends can help to satisfy our need for fun and our need to belong.
Activities that involve creativity and imagination, such as woodworking, painting, or writing, can be fun and help satisfy our need to accomplish and be recognized. And fun that involves physical activity, such as running, can help satisfy our need for freedom and survival.
How do you choose your entertainment?