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Conscious vs unconscious entertainment

by Noah Douglas 14 days ago in advice

we've been fed a myth

Conscious vs unconscious entertainment
Photo by Matias North on Unsplash

It’s good to rest and recover every so often. Having a break from work and the stress of life is necessary for us to function without experiencing major burnout or breakdowns.

However, I think we have been fed a myth about how and what we take rest with.

Most people find themselves overindulging in time on phones, Netflix, and Youtube videos once they’ve finished some hard work. I mean it makes sense, you hear everyone talking about a new show so you watch it.

I mean what is wrong with just watching some random TV show after work?

A whole lot.

Granted it is very easy to justify this as you are ‘meant’ to have a break and rest. It scientifically is good for us. But listen to this sentence:

“Oh, I’ve worked 8 hours so I have to go on my phone”.

That sounds so stupid right.

Your engaging in an activity, not out of enjoyment, but simply because you deserve it? That’s odd right.

Think about your life. Eyes glued to the TV or games console or whatever you do to rest, are you actually engaged, happy, and smiling… probably not.

Don’t get me wrong I think we should rest, however, I just find the whole phone and video game entertainment quite unhelpful.

Recently, I found myself in a week of working extremely hard but then consequently going on my phone for extended periods. This wasn’t good for me or anyone.

I was going from a very happy content place being proud of the work I’d achieved to then my mood plummeting to a very harsh low with all the dopamine and negative stuff on the internet.

In addition to this, ‘small breaks’ became ‘day-long breaks’ as once I began my rest for the day I found it very hard to be productive again.

There had to be a different approach.

I then watched this video about the ways we consume content and the habits we have. It touched upon the idea that we are often told that it’s okay to consume lots of media and chill out by simply sitting in front of a screen.

There are two types of entertainment:

  • Unconscious entertainment- we simply consume the content, we maybe have a quick laugh but after the entertainment is over we have nothing to gain. This could be a reality TV show, gaming or just watching endless Tik Toks.
  • Conscious entertainment- you are engaging with the content. You have takeaways from the entertainment and it’s contributing to your betterment. This could be learning a skill, reading, watching a Documentary/ Educational video.

The sad reality is that we have gotten used to unconscious entertainment being the norm as we get told so much that it is ‘fun’. Yet, when we look back on our days there’s nothing fun about spending 20 hours completing a series.

We have to start training ourselves that other, more productive, activities can be equally if not more fun.

And don’t get me wrong if you genuinely enjoy something, like movie watching, and that is a real passion you should pursue it. That to me is a great indicator of some of your unique talents; so engage with it. This message is just for those times when we simply meander and waste our time doing these more unconscious entertainments simply because we feel they have to.

I am definitely guilty of time-wasting so a practical thing I do is instead of stopping entertainment I switch the more unconscious ones to conscious ones to get into good routines:

  • Instead of reaching for your phone, you reach for a book.
  • Instead of watching a TV series, you watch a Ted Talk.
  • Instead of leveling up in a video game, you level up at a skill in real life.
  • The consequence will be that you are actually happier and more productive in not only your work life but your personal and social life too. All conscious entertainments provide betterment to your life in some way or another, so why wouldn’t you give them a try?


    Noah Douglas

    • journeyman of faith | armchair philosopher

    • business student, writer, and runner

    • some of my other work ↓

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