People Who Value This Activity Are The Happiest, Says Study

Can you guess?

smiling woman JLco Julia Amaral / Shutterstock

Most of us have to work, but the importance we place on our jobs and overworking is on us. It's better for our health and happiness to make the most of our time and enjoy ourselves, and those who value their free time stay happier longer.

We only get this one life, do you really want to spend the majority of it working? 

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A 2016 study published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology says that money isn't a guarantee of happiness; instead, appreciating your time can provide a greater sense of well-being and satisfaction in life.

For the study, participants were asked if they'd prefer having a more expensive apartment with a short commute, or a less expensive apartment with a long commute.

They were also asked to choose between a graduate program that would lead to a job with long hours and a larger starting salary or a graduate program where they would end up with a lower-salary job with fewer hours. 


In the six studies that had more than 4,600 participants, researchers found an almost even split between people who tended to value their time or money, and that choice was a fairly consistent trait for ordinary things that happened daily and with major life events.

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"It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making money, and prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness," said lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia.

As the participants got older, they were more likely to value their time over their bank accounts.

Maybe that's because, when you get older, you start to realize that time is finite and you need to treasure every moment you have. If you work your life away, you may have a big bank account, but your life may be devoid of joy and fun.

What's the point of having all that money if you're never gonna use it?


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"As people age, they often want to spend time in more meaningful ways than just making money," Whillans said. "Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than making money. Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier."

Time really goes by quickly and if you don't take as many moments as you can to be present and grateful, you will reach the end of your life weary from all the stresses that focusing on money and work brings.


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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website.