Watching TV When Stressed Leads to Feelings of Guilt and Failure

October 22, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. unwind /ʌnˈwaɪnd/ (v.) – to relax after a hard work
Example: The supervisor deserves to unwind after accomplishing a big project.

2. fatigued /fəˈtigd/ (adj.) – physically or mentally exhausted
Example: Fatigued drivers should take a nap before driving.

3. slump /slʌmp/ (v.) – to sit lazily because of tiredness
Example: I was very exhausted so I immediately slumped on the sofa when I arrived home.

4. fuel /ˈfyu əl/ (v.) – to strengthen or support something
Example: Stress fuels the desire to eat a lot.

5. stressor /ˈstrɛs ər, -ɔr/ (n.) – anything that causes someone to worry too much
Example: Her biggest stressor is her demanding manager.


Read the text below.
Sitting in front of the TV after a stressful day can make people feel guilt and a sense of failure, according to German and Dutch researchers.

In the study called the “Guilty Couch Potato,” researchers asked 500 volunteers how they felt after school or work the previous day. Researchers also asked what forms of media the volunteers used to unwind—TV or video games—and how they felt afterwards. 

Results of the study show that the most fatigued people did not feel refreshed or relaxed after slumping in front of the TV. Instead, they showed an increased level of guilt and failure for procrastinating and not doing more productive tasks. According to Dr. Leonard Reinecke [RAHY-ni-kuh] of Johannes Gutenberg [joh-HAN-eez GOOT-n-burg] University, media use fuels the feeling of guilt. In addition, people who are exhausted tend to end up feeling frustrated because of lack of self-control over media use.

The feeling of guilt could stem from the regret of not using one’s time productively. The volunteers also worry that their friends might judge them for watching soap operas, reality TV shows, and other non-demanding programs. 

The results of the study also revealed that using media for entertainment is considered unproductive and less valuable culturally. Among the activities perceived as valuable are sports, meditation, and arts.

What strengthens the urge to watch TV is the availability of smart phones and mobile devices. These technologies make programs and games more accessible. However, these devices become more of a burden and a stressor rather than a means for recovery, researchers added. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the results of the study? Why or why not?
·         How can people avoid feeling guilty over watching the television?

Discussion B

·         How else can people relax after a very tiring day at work or at school?
·         What do you think are the other disadvantages of watching TV too often?

October 22, 2014