The First Thing You Should Purge From Your Life After Turning 40
Getting into the 40s is a big deal, but not necessarily a milestone people are looking forward to. Research from the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College, which analyzed 2 million people in 80 countries, found that both men and women are most likely to develop depression in their early 40s. In preparation for a challenging decade for so many of us, it is time to focus on the changes you can make to clear your mind and prepare for success. And that starts with some deciphering of items from your past life that don't, as Marie Kondo would say, "bring joy". Over your four decades, you've probably amassed a pretty large amount of things, some of which will always be around you and expensive, and others better to let go of once and for all. Of course, knowing where to start can be difficult, but experts agree that the first thing to remove from your life after you turn 40 is your TV. For more advice on this milestone, see What Everyone Should Know Before They Turn 40.
A 2017 study by the Health Sciences Center at Louisiana State University analyzed 3,201 adults in the United States and found that depression was particularly common in adults between the ages of 36 and 50. The results also showed that people who "watched TV for more than four hours a day ... were more likely to be diagnosed with moderate or severe depression than people who watched TV for less than four hours a day".
A 2015 paper presented at the International Communication Association's 65th annual conference also found that the negative mental health effects of heavy television viewing were pronounced. Those who watched more TV experienced more feelings of depression and loneliness, while also reporting problems with a lack of self-control. A 2020 article published in the journal Translational Psychiatry found that "watching television is positively linked to the risk of depression, while using a computer is not". The main difference seems to be the passive nature of watching TV versus the intellectual stimulation of reading or online interaction.
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Television also contributes to other behaviors that can lead to depression and poor mental health. A 2019 study of 59,400 participants, with a mean age of 43, found that participants who watched TV for more than five hours tended to consume more alcohol, smoke tobacco, eat unhealthy foods, were obese, and had higher levels of symptoms and depression being less physically active than those who watch less television. Of course, we don't need to tell you that many of these factors can shorten your lifespan.
Personal trainer Lizzy Williamson, in her early 40s, quit television in 2015 to pursue her dream of writing a book, she told Now to Love. "Watching TV in the evening was my time," she said. “But when I gave up, I got up at 5am and went for a walk. During that time I was recording material for my book. ... I stuck to my plan for a year and ended up with a finished manuscript and a publisher . "
Lisa Ienco, who is in her 40s, had to give up television, but it ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to her. "My television died and my friend and I decided not to replace it," she told Now to Love. She was previously a binge watcher and binge eater. "I worked eight hours a day and watched TV probably as long - although I would never have thought about it," she said. "I didn't know how much I ate or when I was full." When she stopped watching TV, she became more active and "so many opportunities opened up in my life," she said.
While it can be especially difficult to imagine life without television, given how much time we all spend at home these days, a day without television can start small and see how you feel. It can only help you achieve the lifelong goals that you have set for yourself. And for more ways to stay healthy in your 40s and beyond, here are the habits doctors wish you stopped after 40.
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