Why researchers are encouraging us to embrace hedonism – TimesLIVE

They concluded in a meta-analysis published this week in the journalPersonality and Social Psychologythat time spent relaxing (resting, going to the cinema, reading, going to restaurants, and so on) is just as important as working or participating in enriching activities like learning a language or practising a sport.

People who were able to fully relax during leisure activities tended tohave a higher sense of wellbeing, and were less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

The study authors say the scientific literature on the subject has largely been targeted at examining how we can achieve our goals most efficiently.

It's time for a rethink, says Katharina Bernecker, researcher in motivational psychology at the University of Zurich.

The pursuit of hedonic and long-term goals needn't be in conflict with one another. Our research shows that both are important and can complement each other in achieving wellbeing and good health. It is important to find the right balance in everyday life.

This topic particularly resonates in the current moment, when many people across the world are working from home. Thinking of the work you still need to do can lead to more distracting thoughts at home, making you less able to rest, adds Bernecker.

So what can you do to enjoy your free time and relax without feeling guilty? While more research is needed, the study suggested a few possibilities. Carving out specific moments for idle or leisure time and setting time limits in order to more completely separate them from other activities is a start towards allowing ourselves real enjoyment without guilt.

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Why researchers are encouraging us to embrace hedonism - TimesLIVE

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