The couch, the remote, the guilt

London - You may think it’s a relaxing end to a hard day at work – but slumping in front of the TV could make you feel worse.

People who are tired and stressed are consumed by feelings of guilt and failure when they give into the temptation to watch television, a study found.

In a pretty alarming finding for those of us who love TV, a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this week shows that young adults who watch a lot of television and have a low physical activity level tended to have worse cognitive function as measured by standardized tests when they hit middle age. Credit: REUTERS

And the more exhausted they are, the more they will regret putting their feet up.

It is thought that they worry their time would be better spent doing something more productive – or that others will look down on them for watching undemanding programmes such as soaps and reality TV that are particularly appealing when tired.

In the study, called The Guilty Couch Potato, Dutch and German researchers asked almost 500 volunteers how tired they felt after finishing work, university or school the previous day. They were also asked if they’d played video games or watched TV and how it had made them feel.

Those who were most stressed got the least benefit from the supposedly relaxing activities, the Journal of Communication reports.

Rather than feeling calm and refreshed, they felt guilty and experienced feelings of failure. They were also more likely to say they had turned on the TV to avoid doing something else.

The researchers, from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, believe that tiredness makes us particularly likely to give into the temptation of TV – and then feel guilty about our lack of self-control.

They also noted that being able to watch videos on the go on smartphones adds to feelings of stress, as it makes it harder to avoid the allure of TV. - Daily Mail