Playing video games and watching TV to unwind may produce feelings of guilt, according to study

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(NaturalNews) A study led by researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, found that playing video games or watching television for relaxation after a long, hard day may produce feelings of guilt and frustration. (1) The findings come as a surprise to many who consider such activities as ones that promote a refreshed and calm feeling. In the study, 471 participants, who averaged the age of 25, were asked a series of questions pertaining to their work or school activities and their feelings during the previous day as well as about their video-game-playing or television-watching habits. (1)

Something called ego-depletion, a tired state that people find themselves in after using self-control to complete difficult tasks, was taken into consideration, as individuals feeling this way are more inclined to become involved in such "mindless" activities. (1) For example, ego-depletion may occur after a long day at work in which someone is eager to relax. However, it was discovered that engaging in gaming or TV watching after spending time using up so much willpower can negatively impact mood as well as feelings about media use. Specifically, turning to electronics in an ego-depleted state can lead to feelings of procrastination and, in turn, guilt.

The study found that those who were more ego-depleted after school or work had higher risks of feeling guilty about turning to television or gaming to unwind. Rather than feeling relaxed, many people actually ended up feeling bad about their media use.

Feelings of procrastination can interfere with the relaxation sought from media use

According to University of Alabama's Elliot Panek, an expert who has studied media use and guilt, recovering from a long day by engaging in media use can be good so long as it's not accompanied by the feeling that one's willpower has been drained. "But if you've been exerting willpower then you play the same darn video games or watched the same television, you're not going to feel that same sense of recovery," he said. The lead for this study, Leonard Reinecke, said, "I think it would be helpful to reappraise media use -- rather than seeing it as a guilty pleasure, a waste of time and a proof of one's own self-regulatory failure, it makes sense to also look at the bright side and think of media use as a deserved treat after a long working day and an effective recovery strategy that may help us to be more productive afterwards."

The health pros and cons of turning to media to unwind

When it comes to media, there are both criticisms and words of praise over its use when it comes to mental and physical health. Some studies have linked intense gaming, for example, to a 20 percent improvement in eyesight in one month. (2) In many instances, overall improvements have been found in identifying objects faster and in the way the brain responds to visual stimuli. Other findings, such as ones by the American Academy of Pediatrics, have noted that, when gaming becomes an addiction, it may lead to depression, social anxiety and poor school performance. (3)

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.

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