Thanksgiving was on Thursday, and I hope everybody got to spend time celebrating the holiday in a meaningful way.
It's hard to believe that another year is already winding down, but 2008 only has a little more than a month left.
As we observed Thanksgiving, we all should have taken some time to consider the parts of our life for which we are grateful. It's great to be an American, and the freedom we enjoy is just one of the many things for which we should feel gratitude.
However, it doesn't mean that we don't have challenges facing us.
The economy is slumping, and there seems to be a general sense of uneasiness in our land. This uneasiness is especially rammed home if a person spends a lot of time watching the many all-news channels that we have at our disposal.
Negativity and endless analysis of that negativity rule the day. At least, that is the way it seems to me.
Because of this negativity, an obvious question is: How much does this impact people?
Obviously, the media has a responsibility to report the news even if there is a lot of bad news right now. However, too much negativity must influence people in some way.
Consider this finding that was discovered as part of the General Social Survey, according to Yahoo! News.
According to that survey, people who identify themselves as unhappy people watch a lot more television than those who say they are happy.
The survey's findings showed that unhappy people watch 30 percent more television than happy folks. Unhappy people watch 25 hours of television per week compared to only 19 hours by happy people. The survey was of 30,000 Americans between 1975 and 2006.
The survey, however, did not determine whether unhappiness caused people to watch more television or if the actual viewing caused the unhappiness. It did state that happy people attended more religious services, voted more, and read newspapers more often than the unhappy television watchers.
I thought these findings were especially interesting because of the time of year we are in. Among other things, the holiday season is a time of togetherness when people spend extra time with family and friends.
However, a lot of people don't have access to family and friends. The void caused by this isolation and loneliness has to be filled some way, and it would be natural that television would help fill that void.
Perhaps the extent in which a person depends on television plays a role in personal happiness. While a person needs a certain amount of privacy, there is a fine line between enjoying privacy and being cut off from the world.
Television is one of the greatest inventions of the last 100 years, but like any invention, bad results can occur if it is overused. The entertainment it provides can be good, but if we overindulge we may find ourselves cut off from the very things we need to help our happiness.
As the results of this survey show, people who are happier tend to have a more well-rounded life that includes activities outside the home with less television watching.
Whether we care to admit it or not, we all need each other. Television may help some people temporarily escape the unhappiness they are feeling, but in the long run, it is them that will suffer the consequences of choosing television over interacting with others.
Don't make the mistake of falling into that trap.
It will only hurt you and others around you.