All of us like to stay happy most of the time. But are we able to remain happy throughout the day? Well, there are many factors which determine that happiness is outside of our control. Some of us are genetically programmed to see the world through rose-colored glasses, while others have a generally negative outlook towards life. Also, there are few instances where ugly things happen, to us and in the world. People can be cruel, unkind, and jobs can be tedious.
As per experts there is a correlation between happiness and how we spend our leisure time. They say that we do have some control over how we spend our leisure time and must look for innovative ways to do so. That’s one reason why they have been stressing on evaluating which leisure time activities are linked to happiness, and which aren’t. To know this, a detailed analysis was conducted on 1 million U.S. teens to understand how teens were spending their free time and which activities are correlated with happiness. The experts said that this analysis could help them study the changes in the way teens spend their free time and can also explain a startling drop in teens’ happiness after 2012 and the decline in adults’ happiness since 2000.
The study started by asking teens about their general happiness, in addition to how they spend their time. The results revealed that those teens who spent more time with friends in person, playing sports, reading, exercising or even doing homework were happier. However, those who spent more time on the internet, browsing social media, texting, playing computer games, using video chat or watching TV were less happy.
In other words, those activities that didn’t involve a screen were linked to more happiness, and every activity that involved a screen was linked to less happiness. This means that those who are unhappy seek out more of screen activities.
Experts also claimed that during one of the experiments, people who were randomly assigned to give up Facebook for a week seemed happier, less lonely and less depressed than those who continued to use Facebook. It was also seen that those young adults who were required to give up Facebook for their jobs were happier than those who kept their accounts. In addition to this, several studies proved that increased screen time leads to unhappiness but unhappiness doesn’t lead to more screen time.
Based on the above study, a simple advice will be to minimize screen time and go out, do something else for happiness.
Even adults are bitten by this bug
According to statistics, the current generation of teens spends more time with screens than any previous generation. It has been observed that the time spent online doubled between 2006 and 2016, and 82 percent of 12th-graders are actively glued to social media every day. These statistics show a sharp decline in the number of unhappy, teens after 2012.
Other studies related to behavior and lifestyle showed a sharp increase in mental health issues among the current generation, including in depressive symptoms, major depression, self-harm and suicides.
These results are also true for adults who are above 30 years of age. One of the major reasons of unhappiness is the lack of face-to-face time with other people, including sexual partners. Since adults are spending more time with screens than they used to earlier, they have less time to build intimate relations, which ultimately leads to unhappiness.
Experts say that we cannot blame economic cycles for lower happiness quotient between adults and teens. Although, there was a sharp drop amongst teen and adult happiness during the Great Recession from 2008 to 2010, the happiness quotient continued to decline even after 2012 when the economy was doing progressively better.
In some cases, it was found that growing income inequality could be a reason for unhappiness, especially for adults. But, on the other hand, it has been seen that happiness began to decline around 2000 for adults and around 2012 for teens.
It was observed that the use of digital media by teens for a limited amount of time made them happy in comparison to those who did not use it at all.
Finally, the experts concluded by mentioning that one should not give up technology entirely. Instead, it is better to use everything in moderation. Use your electronic gadgets like phone, ipad or a laptop for all the cool things and then set it down and go do something else for your own happiness.