Study: Staying Busy Is Good for Your Mental Health

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In real estate, you’re likely constantly on the go—client meetings, showings, negotiations, closings, and more. But all that busyness may be good for your mental health.

After all, on the other side of the coin, having too much free time can make you unhappy, according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers found that an abundance of discretionary time—i.e., free time--is linked to unhappiness due to the lack of a sense of productivity. Too much free time can make you feel lazy, sluggish, and like time was wasted, researchers found.

However, you still need to make time for free time in a healthy work-life balance. No free time can also make you feel stressed. Researchers say free time can leave people feeling happier when they spend it on productive activities, such as building and maintaining relationships or working on a project, exercising, or reading. The “free time” activity must feel like it has a purpose to the individual to have an effect.

So how much “free” time do you need? Researchers put that sweet spot at between two to five hours of free time per day.

The activity matters for the amount needed. For example, using your free time to chill on the sofa watching TV, researchers say any more than two hours of that could make you feel unhappy. However, using free time to exercise or connect with others, researchers put that sweet spot at five hours for the biggest benefit.