Happiness time

Are you a “time passer” or a “time spender”? Do you “clock watch” or “gaze”? No, these are not the preliminary questions from a watchmaker’s apprentice test, they could be vital clues to whether you are happy or not, and why.

Researchers set out to discover how an individual’s attitude to time impacted their capacity for happiness. To do this they first had subjects complete a survey. One group of subjects were given a survey which contained questions that primed them to think about time in terms of money.

The subjects then undertook experiments that involved them in undertaking leisure activities. Those people who had been primed to think of time on terms of money, that is to put a price on their time, showed greater impatience and less satisfaction during the leisure activities than did the other groups. However, this money-oriented group showed more enjoyment and less impatience when they were paid to listen to music.

The researchers concluded that thinking about time in terms of the money you could be earning in that time actually changes the way that you experience time. In the end treating time as if it had a monetary value is a sure way to reduce your happiness.

It looks like a little “free time” may be a good thing in more ways than one. The big news is that if you believe “time is money” then your happiness watch indicates that it’s about twenty cents past bankrupt.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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