After spending hours working or studying, it seems normal to want to relax afterward either through watching TV or by playing video games. However, research has found that this can actually lead to feelings of guilt and failure.

In a study in the Journal of Communication, researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and VU University Amsterdam have found that people who were already highly stressed after work had high levels of guilt and feelings of failure about unwinding by watching TV or playing video games.

"Our present study is an important step towards a deeper understanding of [media-induced recovery]," said Leonard Reinecke, a researcher at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "It demonstrates that in the real life, the relationship between media use and well-being is complicated and that the use of media may conflict with other, less pleasurable but more important duties and goals in everyday life."

Reinecke, along with Tilo Hartmann and Allison Eden at VU University Amsterdam, surveyed 471 participants about the previous day. They were asked to report how they felt after work and what media they used to unwind afterward.

They found that people who were especially tired after work or school found media use a form of procrastination for other tasks. Additionally, they experienced lower levels of recovery from their fatigued state because they viewed their media use as a sign of failure to practice self-control.

This comes as a paradox since prior research has found that media use allows people to detach from work or school in order to relax, and it gives people a feeling of control.

Media use is often viewed as unproductive and not valuable. This may cause people who partake in media technology to feel guilty for watching it as opposed to more socially acceptable leisure activities such as yoga or hanging out with people.

Reinecke said to CBS News that use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have the same impact on feelings of guilt and failure. 

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