The Perspective of ‘Free Time’ Is Making Us Less Happy


Some people try to make every hour of leisure perfect, while others hate taking time off altogether. Have we forgotten how to enjoy our free time? an article from BBC mentions the way we view our free time making it less happier.

Savour the moment!

Leisure is the prize, right? We work hard, so we want to play hard; we look forward to our time off, believing that the more leisure time we have, the better life will be. Enjoying that time – or savoring that coveted end goal – should come naturally.

Pressure to settle with the best choice

However, research shows that both having and deciding how to spend leisure time can be very stressful. Some people feel enormous pressure to maximize their downtime with the best choices: researching more, anticipating and spending more money. But, as data prove, this pressure to maximize our fun might get in the way of our enjoyment of leisure itself.

The changing concept of leisure 

Leisure has dramatically evolved over the centuries and across cultures. One thing that’s consistent about leisure, however, is that it has always been contrasted with work.  In Ancient Greece, most of the labour was outsourced to slaves, while wealthier parts of society pursued other activities.

Purpose: to be gratifying

“Leisure was an active state of mind. Good leisure meant playing sports, learning music theory, debating qualified peers and doing philosophy. Leisure was not easy, but it was supposed to be gratifying.” Today we’re seeing yet another transition: a lack of leisure time now operates as a powerful status symbol

The leisure maximisers 

Our ability to purchase and enjoy goods and services has risen much more rapidly than the amount of time available for us to enjoy them.  This pressure manifests in our decisions. We feel like we want to have the best bang for our buck and minutes. So we invest more money in leisure. Better hotels, better movie experiences – like IMAX or Netflix in 4K – better everything.

The right way to do leisure is to relax

The persistent fear that we are not using our time ‘right’, whether by having an extravagantly ‘collectable’ experience or just being uber-productive, can derail the very purpose of leisure. Because the only ‘right way to do leisure is to relax, let your guard down, make good memories and trust the pieces will fall into place.

“If you approach a vacation with a ‘should’ mindset, you might be messing it up,”. “Don’t let your belief that you ‘need to get the best out of this get the best of you.”

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Source: BBC


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