Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Watching Television Destroys your Chance of Happiness

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You can think of your happiness as... [partly dependent on] how you spend your time -- something you have a fair amount of control over. This is the subject of a major new study... [which]grouped activities into six clusters, based on the emotions associated with each.

The standout cluster was what the authors label "engaging leisure and spiritual activities," things like visiting friends, exercising, attending church, listening to music, fishing, reading a book, sitting in a cafe or going to a party. When we spend time on our favorite of these activities, we're typically happy, engrossed and not especially stressed.
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[T]here's been a significant increase in... watching television... which may help explain why Americans are little or no happier than they were four decades ago.
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Watching TV may be low-stress and moderately enjoyable.... But people aren't mentally engaged the way they are when they're, say, exercising or socializing.

Upshot: We can make ourselves happier simply by being engaged in what we're doing. Passivity -- watching television -- has an opportunity cost, robbing us of that opportunity.

2 comments:

Dusty The English Major said...

Read. Does engaging with home movies count as watching television?

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

Anything that doesn't assist you in your accomplishment of productive pursuits destroys your chance of happiness, apparently.