Many people feel as though there’s something indulgent or selfish in desiring leisure. Even to just talk about it in this culture, unless it’s paired with retirement planning, seems to diminish or to cast doubt upon the seriousness of one’s work ethic, one’s intentions toward accomplishment and productivity.
A recent study, however, showed that when participants described a possible future for themselves, it contained significantly more leisure time than their daily lives contained (Loveday, Lovell and Jones 2018). And, most interestingly, the leisure desired was not just about having fun (though there’s nothing wrong with that!). Fifty-nine percent of the participants reported wanting to use the leisure time for learning, improving and contributing to society.
Activities such as travel, one of the most popular uses of leisure time, contribute to the building of knowledge, the feeling of meaning and purpose, and the sharing of new experiences with other people (as reported by the study’s participants). All these qualities are components of “the good life” as many conceptualize it.
Granted, this particular study was conducted on middle-class, middle-aged Australians with greater means for travel. But, cross-cultural research has found that, in general, leisure enhances well-being through its enabling of affiliation (time with family, friends, etc. providing a sense of connection and belonging) and of a sense of autonomy, among other benefits such as rest and recovery. ***
Did You Know:
The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours” (The United Nations, 1948, article 24).
Did You Also Know:
In some countries, one’s freedom to “roam free” is protected by law. This principle is referred to in Sweden as allemansrätten. All publicly-owned land is free and accessible – no fees are associated with camping, cycling, or walking upon it. Other countries that enshrine the public’s right to roam in nature in law include Scotland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Czech Republic, and Switzerland.
Here are some recent words of wisdom from two of my favorite people. Michael Pollan is speaking about insights he learned while doing research for his new book, How to Change Your Mind.
Pollan: “We assume we’re identical to our ego…But I’m not identical to my ego – there’s another ground on which to stand and take in reality….These defenses you build up over your whole life: you don’t need them. And you can lower them and not face complete annihilation.”
Colbert: “So ego should be a controlled substance?!”
Quoted from Stephen Colbert’s interview
with author Michael Pollan on the Colbert Show 5/15/18.
Check out the full interview at:
We’re all aware of the robust research on the benefits of physical activity. But what you may not be aware of is that the motivation behind the activity can determine how beneficial the actual doing of it is for your well-being.
Studies of older adults have shown, for example, that subjective well-being actually goes down when the purpose of engaging in an activity is a way to simply spend time as opposed to a way for meeting people (Everard et al 2000).
Why might this be the case? Let’s look a little deeper at what motivates voluntary behavior. According to the Dualistic Model of Passion (Vallerand et al 2007), there are two types of passion associated with doing preferred activities: obsessive passion and harmonious passion.
Obsessive passion has to do with feelings of internal or external pressure to do an activity due to it being linked to one’s self-esteem, social acceptance, or other influences on one’s sense of self. Harmonious passion has to do with a feeling of willingness and choice in engaging in an activity, usually because the individual decides it’s important to them without it impacting their identity. Harmonious passion has a sense of volition to it, whereas obsessive passion is associated with an uncontrollable urge and resulting conflict between the activity and other life priorities.
In a study of physically active older adults in Egypt (Salama-Younes and Hashim 2018), the researchers found that individuals who demonstrated harmonious passion as well as a subjective sense of vitality, had higher scores on life satisfaction. Obsessive passion, on the other hand, led to a significant decrease in life satisfaction regardless of personal feelings of vitality.
So perhaps, paradoxically, engaging in activities designed to maintain or enhance one’s self-esteem or personal sense of self may not, in fact, be the best form of self-care. ***
Fight for Peace academies in England and Brazil “combine boxing and martial arts with education and personal development to realize the potential of young people in communities affected by crime, violence and social exclusion.”
Promoting self-respect and self-control, discipline, and feelings of belonging, Fight for Peace endorses a holistic change model that includes physical training, employability, social support and youth leadership: “championship” inside and outside the boxing ring.
Check it out: http://fightforpeace.net/about-us/our-approach/