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A Little Happier: One Way that TV Can Make Us Happier


We hear a lot about the problems created by technology, and it’s true that technology presents us with many challenges.

I’m also interested in seeing ways that people use technology for the good.

I’ve been thinking lately about how people can turn to TV for a kind of company that gives them comfort.

I remember a conversation that Elizabeth and I had with legendary designer and performer Isaac Mizrahi for the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. In episode 249, he told us about how, as a child, TV gave him comfort. He often had insomnia, and when he was awake in the middle of the night, he’d turn on the television and be comforted by the knowledge that somewhere, other people were also awake and watching.

Along the same lines, I remember how in her memoir It’s Always Something (Amazon, Bookshop), comedian and actor Gilda Radner wrote that in the years she lived alone, she loved to have sports on TV playing in the background. She never watched it, but it made her feel safe.

Of course, no one would say that the company of TV is better than the company of other people. But for some people, it does offer a form of comfort. Sometimes, we assume that we’re not supposed to feel a certain way, or that our response isn’t valid or appropriate. As always, the secret is self-knowledge, and knowing ourselves and our own idiosyncratic responses.

To TV, and to anything else.

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