Free time and happiness: how to find a balance

How often we dream of having more free time! But what happens if that dream comes true? It turns out that it’s not that simple. Having unlimited free time does not always bring happiness.

Researchers from the University of California conducted a survey of more than 35 thousand Americans to find out how much free time you need to be happy. After analyzing the data, scientists came to three conclusions:

1. You can’t have less than two hours of free time a day. The stress associated with too busy a schedule makes it impossible to enjoy life.

2. There is also nothing good about having too much free time. If you regularly have nothing to do for more than five hours a day, you lose your sense of purpose in life, it loses its core and structure, and not the most pleasant emotions take over.

3. How you spend your free time is key. If you do something meaningful, like sports, volunteering, or hobbies, then five hours or more of free time a day can make you happy. It is also important whether you spend your free time alone or in contact with other people – in the latter case it is more likely that you will be happy.

Thus, when it comes to free time, as in many other life situations, the so-called “Goldilocks effect” works: two hours or less a day is too little for happiness, five hours or more a day is too much, and between two and five hours a day is just right.

But why does this happen? As noted by psychologists, a person needs to feel the meaning and purpose in his life. If we have too little free time, we can’t pursue our interests and hobbies, which leads to depression and frustration. On the other hand, if we have too much free time, we don’t know what to fill it with and feel useless.

So how do we find a balance? There are several ways:

1. identify your interests and hobbies. Find something you enjoy and do it regularly. This will help you fill your free time and give your life meaning.

2. Plan your time. Create a schedule that includes time for work, recreation, hobbies, and socializing with friends and family.

3 Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try something new: a new hobby, a new sport, a new restaurant or cafe. This will help you expand your horizons and find new hobbies.

4. Don’t forget to communicate with your friends and family. Talking to people helps us feel important and needed.

5. Don’t forget about your health. Exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. A healthy lifestyle helps us feel happy and confident.

Free time can be both a blessing and a curse. But if you find a balance and learn how to use it properly, it will become your best friend and help you achieve happiness.

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