What do you like to do in your leisure time? Watch TV? Read a book? Go for a long hike? Whatever you enjoy doing in your free time, a new study from Rutgers University finds that you are more likely to reap the benefits of leisure time if you believe that it is a valuable use of your time.
In the study, the researchers asked over 300 people to reflect on what they did on Halloween, whether they enjoyed it, and what their attitudes were towards leisure in general. They found that those who believe leisure time is wasteful enjoyed the holiday less than their peers who valued recreation as a part of a healthy, balanced life.
In the second part of the study, some participants read an article about the wastefulness of free time and then were shown funny videos. Those who read the article enjoyed the funny videos less than their counterparts who did not read it.
Are you someone who has a hard time enjoying leisure without feeling guilty or lazy? Don’t worry, the researchers had some tips for changing your beliefs and reaping the benefits of rest. The study recommends taking up purposeful leisure activities like meditation, reading, yoga, or knitting. Lead author Gabriela Tonietto says, “For those who think of leisure as wasteful, focusing on the productive ways that individual leisure activities can serve their long-term goals can help.”
Source study: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology – Viewing leisure as wasteful undermines enjoyment