Free time is defind as the time when you are neither working nor studing but can do what ever you want. We always try to take out time from busy schedule to do things which give us happiness. A designated free time is all one wants to feel relaxed and happy. As an individual’s free time increases, the sense of feeling good also increases.
But how much free time is good for an individual? Suppose, you have been given a paid holiday assignment, where you can do what you want or whatever keeps you happy and with no end date. How long will you remain happy?
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, too much free time is a bad thing. The research analysed 21736 Americans and professors from Wharton and Harvard universities were involved in this research. They found out that too less of discretionary time is bad and so is the too much free time.
It has been observed that almost 120 to 150 minutes of discretion time every day is good enough. We know that time is money and money spent well brings happy feel. Free time every day increases life satisfaction and feeling of well being. Many of us are not happy inspite of having free time.
The problem is, many of us are spending our free time in ways that aren’t really making us happy, says James Wallman, author of “Time and How To Spend It.” You can buy this book by clicking on the link.
Leisure time is any time when you’re not occupied with work or chores, paid or unpaid. “It’s the time equivalent of ‘disposable income. So how can we optimize the free time in the best possible way? While there’s no perfect activity that’s best for everyone, some experiences are useless like “junk foods” and others are like “superfoods.”
The “superfood” activities put you into “a state of optimal experience arising from intense involvement in an activity that is enjoyable,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Finding activities that lead to increase creativity and happiness is the key.
Experts believe that happiness can be achieved when the skills are being utilized. It results in feeling motivated and has a sense of “total control. Wallman says that any pleasurable activity that truly challenges us has the potential to lead to the elusive fullfilment which so many people are after from their leisure time.
Here are some suggestions to think about to invest your time and energy in:
- Creating memories through experiences gives us stories to tell and share (on social media :P) gives happiness. For example, going out with a friend might lead to a better “story” than re-watching your favorite TV show alone in your living room. The experiences which developsl connections with other people provides purpose and meaning in our lives. And when you share a story with someone else, it results in developing kinship which increases the happiness even more.
- Any activity that helps you grow as a person and gives you a purpose to your existence works better for your satisfaction and happy quotient. Learning new skills or capabilities, change your world view, lead to epiphanies or move you toward a greater goal are all “transformational.” This could be anything from learning a new recipe to taking an improvement class.
- Unplugging from digital devices and notifications when you’re relaxing or spending time with others can help you tune into “real life”.
- An 80-year long Harvard study showed that relationships,not money, predicted how happy and healthy one can become with age. Spending free time with friends and family members, or keeping in touch on the phone, deepens the relationships. By keeping in contact,it becomes easy to share the happiness with others.
- Engage in leisurely activities which utilize the skills and passions, because we’re happier when we are fully engaged with something that requires all of our energy. Removing distractions while you complete a task or activity is one way to fully engage.
- Some moments like watching a sunset or sunrise, spending time with children or visiting monuments improve mood. Perhaps being with nature or family can make you appreciate ordinary moments even more.
- Being popular and well known in community is one of the traits of human beings care about in their social status. Rather than chasing more material possessions, giving back to the community through volunteering is one way to make the social status more meaningful, and make you feel that you’re playing an active role in society.
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