The dangers of boredom and the redemption of leisure

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All I know is that I feel better when I am writing my blog posts, and when I am whipping up a healthy food creation in my kitchen.

I call these “my moments of complete bliss”. Time usually flies by really fast when I am doing one of these two things, because I am completely immersed and having so much fun.

Last year around this time I wrote several blog posts of the importance of finding a hobby, a leisure activity, or a creative outlet. I knew I wanted to share how much better I felt after discovering my love for writing, which has subsequently led to another new interest– healthy cooking.

I recently came across the research of Matthew Zawadzki, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, where he looked at how the body reacts to leisure activities; defined as anything a person does in his or her free time.

The study found that virtually all the participants showed reduced stress and heart rate during their leisure activities. In some cases the leisure activities were exercise, but it turns out that many of the leisure activities were simple things like listening to music, doing puzzles, or sewing.   These participants were 34 per cent less stressed, 18 per cent less sad and their heart rate dropped on average by 3 percent. Astonishing right?

Another important point I’d like to make is that when I am engaged in my moments of bliss– I’m not bored—and when I’m not bored I eat less. It turns out according to Zawadzki boredom can be a dangerous state of mind. Why? Because when people are bored they tend to think more about their life’s problems which can sometimes lead them down other dangerous destructive paths such as, smoking, drinking, drugs, or boredom eating and binging.

In conclusion, I personally know how much better I feel both physically and emotionally when I am engaged in my leisure activities. The joy and happiness that surrounds me in these moments are truly miraculous and something I wish for all of you to experience.  Are there activities that bring you a complete sense of joy and meaningfulness? Are you making time for them?

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