These are six fun activities and habits substantiated by positive psychology that you can adopt in your free time that will give you the best bang for your buck.
These are meant to:
- be fun
- make money
- help you grow as a person
We all have different preferences, but these are some pretty cool and straightforward things to do with your free time that in theory won’t feel like work.
Tip #1. Prank Your Friends
Pranking your friends is a great use of your free time. Not everyone has the kind of friends who will be cool about pranking, but if the shoe fits, wear it.
Not only do pranks make great memories, they are also bonding moments for you and your squad. Beware though, the golden rule of pranking is you get what you give. Be prepared for anything and don’t ever EVER be the first one to go to sleep at the hotel.
Positive psychology support
- Broaden and build theory
- Perceived mattering
“You know that nice feeling you get when your grandma asks if you’ve eaten yet, knowing that she would be ready to drop everything to make you a meal if you were even the slightest bit hungry? That’s called perceived mattering, or how much you believe you matter to somebody.” -from Poetry From The Future
Getting a dick doodled on your face might not seem like a means of communicating perceived mattering, but somehow it is. This factor been looked at as the main variable linking strong social ties with happiness.
Tip #2. Play With Your Wealth in Your Free Time
Savings accounts are for suckers. There is no point having a significant part of your capital asleep in a savings account.
Investing in the stock market has never been cheaper or easier for the average plebeian like you and I. When my father and grandfather started working with the stock market in 1979, it was so dramatically different it is hard to wrap your head around it. Back then, each individual buy and sell order was printed onto cards that had to be transported to and from the bank by a team of guys on bikes.
there were basically no daytraders in the 20th century
The masses have more access to information than ever. Combine this with one-click buy orders and you have a real solid alternative to a silly savings account that pays you something like $50/year.
To start your investing journey, begin with this tip: follow the CEO of your company on Twitter. By following the CEO you will actually have the same level of access that journalists get. Welcome to the inner circle.
Positive psychology support:
The University of Pennsylvania is the birthplace of positive psychology, but it is also the home of Wharton School of Business. Matt Killingsworth, a senior fellow at Wharton has produced a study that says that the relationship between your bank account and your happiness extends past the $75,000/year mark that has become a staple of pop-psychology over the past 10 years.
The same guy warns that the most important ingredient in this relationship is how a person views money
“What does life look like for someone who doesn’t earn a lot, but says money isn’t important?” He said. “I don’t have a great answer to that, I don’t know. But I know that they’re there and I know they’re enjoying life just about as much as similar people who earn a lot more,” Killingsworth said.
Tip #3: Three Simple Exercises That Give You the Best Bang for Your Buck
Chris Sommer, a former Olympic gymnastics coach, shares some simple exercises on the Tim Ferriss Show. There are tons of copy and pasted exercise tips that don’t really teach anything new, but these are three easy exercises to do at home that anyone can do. These can actually help you live longer.
Sommer recommends these three exercises:
- The Thoracic Bridge
- Jefferson Curls
- Shoulder Extensions
Since I first heard about these exercises in 2019, I have tried them all. I like the Jefferson Curl, in particular. It stretches and strengthens the back. Secret confession: I actually have one leg slightly longer than the other, which has given me hip and back problems my whole life. The Thoracic Bridge has actually helped my hips a lot.
Tip #4: Take the First Step Toward Starting a Business. Seize the Day
One of the best supported findings in developmental psychology is the idea that human beings share a deep need to control our lives. This starts from the time we are tiny infants. It is why we love entrepreneurs so much! These tough men and women represent the side of ourselves that is not afraid to lead, create, and win.
Miami entrepreneur Gomeh Saias is a good friend who has started several ventures. The latest is a tea company called Itomatcha. In our high school gang he was always the guy who loves drinking tea. He is also the founder of an app called Joblite. This app is like Tinder, but for job seekers and employers looking for recruits to hire.
He agreed to sit with me so we could share some sage advice with you guys. Here is how to start a solid, future-proof business:
Gomeh: Well there are many things we are not born equal with, but most of it is resources. A lot of it has to do with where we live in the world. Many times, our resources might not be something we can easily change, but one thing we can change is our use of these resources, no matter how limited they might seem.
The first step for any founder should be to build out a resource-map. Don’t fall prey to your own circumstances. Don’t let that be the limiting factor in your own life.
Tip #5: Find a Hobby You Can Spend All Day Doing
Get a freaking hobby! Everyone needs one!
There’s this idea in positive psychology called Flow Theory.
alt: the best things you can do in your free time should trigger flow. (mihaly csikszentmihalyi)
Research by Mihaly Csikscentmihaly (try saying that ten times fast) has resulted in this neat little graph depicting Ability on the x-axis and Challenge on the y-axis. Flow is the feeling of timelessness, control, and wellbeing you get when you are in balance midway between the two relaxation and anxiety.
When you are in flow, five hours can pass and feel like thirty minutes.
When you are looking for fun, productive things to do in your free time, feeling Flow should be a big positive sign that you have found something worthwhile!
Conclusion | Positive Psychology-backed Things To Do in Your Free Time
Positive psychology uniquely focuses on the promotion of positive aspects of our lives. These are virtues and goals that religion has studied for thousands of years such as Courage, Wisdom, Humility, and Perseverance, but unfortunately were never taken seriously by science until very recently.
This science also studies Curiosity. I am convinced that Curiosity and Passion are the same exact feeling but in different degrees. To find the best uses of your free time, follow your curiosity and see where it takes you. Comment below what theories, hobbies, or sports make you the most curious.
If you liked this article, you can find more helpful theories and ideas like these in my book, now available for Kindle!