Health and Fitness

Study Shows Thinking Leisure Is a Waste of Time May Increase Levels of Stress and Depression

"If people start to believe that leisure is wasteful, they may end up being more depressed and more stressed."

Keeping busy is a coping mechanism for many, but it's definitely not for everybody. So, the next time someone tells you to prioritize productivity, think twice because a new study says leisure time is more important than we think.

Researchers from the Ohio State University say that thinking leisure is wasteful isn't good at all—especially for your mental health. Through a series of studies, the study's authors found that simply feeling like downtime is counterproductive may lead to higher levels of stress and depression which, naturally, makes you less happy.

Participants rated how much they enjoyed leisure activities, as well as reporting assessments that measured happiness, depression, anxiety, and stress in one study. What they found was that the more participants believed leisure to be wasteful, the more they didn't enjoy fun activities.

"There is plenty of research which suggests that leisure has mental health benefits and that it can make us more productive and less stressed," Selin Malkoc, co-author of the study said. "But we find that if people start to believe that leisure is wasteful, they may end up being more depressed and more stressed."

"If leisure can be framed as having some kind of productive goal, that helps people who think leisure is wasteful get some of the same benefits," said Rebecca Reczek, another study co-author and professor of marketing at Ohio State University.

How lucky are we that Filipino culture believes in the siesta? Maybe a little too much, but we're not one of the happiest countries for nothing.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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