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Your free time: quality vs. quantity

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October 22nd, 2013
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To be happier and enjoy a better quality of life, pay close attention to your leisure time activities and how you manage your time, researchers say.

A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that retirees who actively managed their free time enjoyed a sense of peace, happiness, and a better overall quality of life than people who didn’t make many plans. Researchers sent questionnaires to retirees inquiring about how they managed their off hours and how happy they felt overall. Turns out it didn’t matter how much free time someone had, but how they spent it that counts.

The pitfalls

Looking forward to a much less busy schedule is one thing, but people who are newly retired often find themselves with a significant amount of free time but few concrete plans about how to fill it. Not making plans may lead to boredom and contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. Many people find themselves watching TV or reading simply because they have nothing else to do.

When you worked or raised a family, having a schedule was imperative. Treating your free time the same way can make it more pleasant and productive. Not overscheduling is just as important, so strive to find a good balance. Participating in activities that involve interaction with another person or group are particularly beneficial because studies show that socializing is a critical factor when it comes to good health, especially good brain health.

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