Unwinding with TV
After a long, stressful day, being a couch potato with TV or video games is supposed to make you feel better, right? Not for everyone. German and Dutch researchers recently found that people who were exhausted after work were more likely to feel guilty—that the TV and games made them procrastinate instead of accomplishing more important tasks. “We are starting to look at media use as a cause of [energy] depletion,” study author Leonard Reinecke, an assistant professor at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, said in a press release. “The ubiquitous availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource.”
Thinking it over
Maybe you replay a meeting with your boss over and over in your mind, or make an endless pro and con list. These practices sound productive, but they may lead to a sabotaging habit that psychologists call ruminating—or compulsively thinking about something. “Ruminating while in a low mood impairs problem-solving,” says Alice Boyles, PhD, on PsychologyToday.com. “People often believe that overthinking will lead to problem-solving insights. It generally doesn’t.” If you can’t easily escape your stress mentally, distract yourself with physical exercise or upbeat music.