Television "Therapy" for Improving Your Mood

Do you feel guilty about the amount of time you spend watching television?  Are you watching as a way to be skillful, using the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills of "Distract" and/or "Self-Soothing?"  

Lately I've found a fun way to also make my television watching experience a mindful one. It also allows me to contribute to others by sharing.

So there are 4 DBT Skills already:
  • Distracting - Take your mind off of painful emotions when the situation cannot be remedied in that moment. (I love to watch Drop Dead Diva and Samantha Who? during my TV time. I also enjoy Seinfeld and King of Queens reruns. Do you watch these shows, too? I'd love to chat about them on Twitter.)
  • Self-Soothe - Use vision and sound to watch and listen to shows that are uplifting and non-triggering. Further enhance with a snuggly blanket and some decaf tea.
  • Mindful Listening -  What I do is either have my iPad or an old fashioned pad of paper and a pen nearby while I'm watching a show.  If one of the characters says something that I think is thought provoking and related to my DBT practice, I log it
  • Contributing -  I sometimes I share these little golden nuggets via Twitter or Facebook.
Some recent ones that I'd like to share with you:

"Even if things don't go as planned, they can still work themselves out." - Roz on Frasier

"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." - Jerry Seinfeld, jokingly, to character George Costanza (reminds me of DBT "Opposite Action" skill.)

(Here's that scene. Funny!):

And four quotes from two recent episodes of Oprah Winfrey's Lifeclass on OWN:
"Whenever you argue against reality, you will suffer." - Iyanla Vanzant (Radical Accepance)
"Holding on to guilt is a way of punishing ourselves. Instead, we can choose to forgive ourselves, others, and when possible, make amends." (paraphrased) - Iyanla Vanzant
"Guilt is a waster emotion. Take responsibility and make conscious choices." - Iyanla Vanzant 
"Appreciate second chances. If you get a moment of grace, take it." - Oprah Winfrey
"Give yourself permission to feel okay." - Iyanla Vanzant

Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

P.S. Just to avoid any confusion -- this is a play on words and is obviously a form of therapy. I am simply describing how I use the DBT skills while watching television. A licensed health care professional should be consulted for therapy. This is certainly not a substitute for it.


  1. My favourite TV shows are also one of my favourite ways to distract myself. On my special list are: THe Big Bang Theory, How I met your mother, two and half men and Castle. Even though the latter may be a bit triggering, but I just love that show and that gives me a good feeling. I don't own a TV, so I watch it on DVD whenever I want/need.

    1. Hi Katrin,

      I like Big Bang Theory, too! The others I am not super familiar with...I am glad you have found shows that make you feel good. Using DVDs gives you more control - you aren't accidentally exposed to triggering commercials for programs with lots of violence. I find there are lots of those, and I have to turn away or mute...

  2. I've been watching a lot of horror movies lately. I thought they'd be triggering, but I've been able to keep my focus and successfully remind myself that it's just a movie and isn't really going to happen. I've enjoyed myself so much, because I haven't been able to watch scary movies in so long. It's like home sweet home again!

    1. Hi Elyse,

      WOW -- horror movies? I could not watch those, but I admire that you find you are able to keep focus and do reality checks. It's so neat how different things work for each of us!

    2. TV is probably my favourite way to soothe myself. Lazy? Maybe. But it works every single time. My favourite shows are Frasier, Samantha Who?, Come dine with me, Sex and the City (though now when I watch it, it makes me cringe a bit), the Office.. I also enjoy King of Queens and Seinfeld. I love George Costanza :D



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