The idea of a “waste of leisure time” increases stress.
There are people who believe that leisure is a wasteful and unproductive activity. Studies have shown that this idea can reduce happiness and increase stress and depression.
Many studies have proven that leisure time is beneficial to mental health and less stressful. Nevertheless, many people regard productivity as their ultimate goal as a waste of time just for fun.
A series of studies conducted jointly by the University of Ohio, Rutgers and Harvard in the U.S., showed that those who strongly agree with this belief enjoyed less leisure, as well as poor mental health outcomes. Celine Malkock, a professor at the Ohio State University School of Business, said, “I found that starting to believe that leisure is a waste of time could eventually lead to more depression and stress.”
In one study, 199 college students assessed how much they enjoyed various leisure activities and measured the levels of happiness, depression, anxiety and stress. He also evaluated the level of leisure that he thought was a waste. As a result, participants do not enjoy leisure activities the more they think of leisure as a waste of time. It had little to do with whether leisure activities were active (exercise), passive (TV viewing), social ( hanging out with friends), and solitary (meditation). In addition, the more “leisure = waste of time,” the lower the level of happiness and the higher the stress of depression and anxiety.
The study shows that it is not easy to change one’s mind about the value of leisure. However, even those who are skeptical of leisure can enjoy it if they change their approach. According to co-author Rebecca Lechek of Ohio State University, the method is to accept leisure as part of a big goal in life. People who despise leisure can benefit from changing the frame of thought that time seeking pleasure is productive, useful and helpful in the long run.
Modern people in the global society live by hearing the same message about how important it is to be busy and productive anytime, anywhere. But if we internalize the belief that “leisure = waste,” we can only become more depressed. It is necessary to have a positive view of leisure in order to increase happiness day by day.