6 Best Things To Do In Your Free Time

Fun dude dapping off a cliff

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:

Money Actually Can Buy You Happiness

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. 

source

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!

Poetry and positive psychology by Alejandro and Sebastian Lozano

What is Positive Psychology and Why is it Important?

Why is positivity important? Until the 21st century, it wasn’t. We have a revolution in our midst. Positive psychology is the new kid on the block, facing off against 100 years of diagnostic psychology.

Science is quantitative. What the science of happiness asks is whether there is one number that will determine if a person is happy? “If you have this much A, you should be happy?”

Think about the dashboard of an airplane, is there one number that tells you how an airplane is doing? Well, it turns out there isn’t for us. There are a whole bunch of gauges, and depending on the mission of the airplane, you pay more attention to one gauge than another. So if you’re trying to fly from Chicago to New York as quickly as possible, then the speedometer is what matters. If you’re trying to get there as comfortably as possible, then the radar is what matters. If you’re trying to get there as economically as possible, then it’s the gas gauge that matters.

This article answers:

  • What is positive psychology
  • The amount of money you need to be happy
  • What will psychology look like in 2050
  • New psychology practices
  • New psychology theories
  • Why this is a big deal

Since 1999, American science has sought to answer stuff like “what is happiness?” “can we change our happiness levels?” and “how much money do I need to be happy?”

Modern psychology lends serious attention to questions such as “what is happiness?” “can we change our happiness levels?” and “how much money do I need to be happy?”

Timeline of Positive psychology showing how positivity became important by asking why Wisdom, Hope, and Creativity matter

Think of positive psychology as the science dedicated to researching how we can live our best life. Positive psychology calls for a switch in focus toward progress, strength, and happiness.

At the same time, it would be unfair to describe traditional psychology as “negative.” There is no such thing as “negative psychology.” “Negative,” in this case, simply refers to focusing on mental disorders and diagnosing the mentally ill.

Amount of money you need to be happy

We have known for over a decade that there is a sort of perfect ‘happiness’ salary, but more recently, a 2018 study from Purdue University used data from the Gallup World Poll to find that the ideal income point for individuals is $95,000 for life satisfaction and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being

  • Ideal income for life satisfaction: $95,000
  • Ideal income for emotional well-being: $60,000 – $70,000

What will psychology look like in 2050?

Normalization of therapy

A majority of normal people will tell you they go to therapy every week or two without a trace of shame. The future of psychological therapy will be much more “normal.”

The whole point of a psychologist is s/he isn’t supposed to judge you, yet when you walk out of a therapists office in 2020, you often leave with a prescription sheet that describes you to a sharply uncomfortable degree.

Something has to give.

The cool thing about the recent developments in psychology is how ambitious they are. Our generation wants more. Avoiding unhappiness is not enough anymore, and it is not likely to return to being enough in the near-future. Recent developments in psychology have moved away from curing diseases and toward studying happiness, thriving, and satisfaction.

Lifehacks and self-education

Learning psychology doesn’t have to happen in a classroom. It is enough to enroll in an online course.

British thinktank Demos came up with the term “pro am” to describe the surging new demographic of amateurs with professional abilities sourced from the internet.

Think of the guys who learn to build a car from YouTube.

By 2050, there will be millions of psychology pro ams who take their mental wellness into their own hands.

New Psychology Practices | 2020

The most famous “treatment” to come from positive psych has to do with gratitude. We call positive psychology treatments “keychains” since they are like keys that unlock a stronger and happier life.

Keychain benefits include:

  • + Happiness and Spirituality
  • + Intimacy at Home
  • + Productivity in your Routine

+ Happiness and Spirituality | The Gratitude Keychain

Real Life Example

This is a deceptively simple practice. The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology says that it leads to six months of increased happiness for both parties, on average.

You just write a one-page thank you note to somebody who wouldn’t expect it and then read it out loud to them.

This practice is reported to disconnect us from toxic, negative emotions. The study found that gratitude keychains also brings both parties an increase in measurable Spirituality.

+ Intimacy at Home | The Response Keychain

creds @Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Do you and your partner sleep together less than you used to? Does fighting seem unavoidable? Believe it or not, there’s an easy trick that is EVEN MORE effective at solving these problems than roses and chocolates (although a little romance doesn’t hurt!)

It is called active constructive responding or the Response Keychain

This is a technique for being a better listener.

When our partner comes to us with good news, it turns out that getting excited for her and responding with enthusiasm is only the SECOND best way to respond. The FIRST BEST way to respond is by bringing her back to that exciting moment.

For example, if your boyfriend tells you he wrecked a top-ranked player on Call of Duty, your goal should be make him feel as close to the initial feeling of triumph as possible. I might say: “What map was it on? What guns were you guys using? You should make a Twitch account and get a milli subscribers!”

+ Productivity in your Routine | The Laughter Keychain

Positive psychology in the workplace is important because it leads to happier and more productive workers, among many other benefits
creds @Austin Distel on Unsplash

Corporate team-building events don’t have to be like pulling teeth. Laughter Games with your office mates can bring everyone closer and bring physical benefits for the entire office’s well-being. The Laughter Keychain consists of a new kind of office games designed to disinhibit colleagues and bring teams closer together.

Laughter is the physical manifestation of joy and well-being. It’s a discharge of raw positive energy that can be defined as a psycho-physical reaction.

A few ways of using the Laughter Keychain are balloon fights, office video game squads, and office social events.

Laughter facts:

  • It uses up to 50 facial muscles
  • It uses around 300 muscles in your entire body
  • Fake smiles are called Duchenne Smiles, and they don’t use the eyes as much as real smiles

New Psychology Theories | 2020

The definition of optimism and pessimism
from Poetry from The Future

Expect a ton of research into how positivity affects the brain. The science of the mind will enhance positivity in the workplace

According to former APA President Martin Seligman, subjective well-being is made up of three balances that we must maintain to develop deep, lasting satisfaction and to thrive in general. 

  1. The Pleasant Life 

refers to basic pleasures that come from the senses.

Examples: Eating good food, living an exciting life, and being mindful. 

2. The Good Life 

refers to discovering and routinely using your personal strengths and virtues to enhance your life.

Example: A depressed cashier who scores very high on Social Intelligence rearranges his priorities and habits so that his personal goal becomes making every customers’ interaction with him the highlight of that person’s day.

3. The Meaningful Life 

refers to the deep satisfaction that comes from feeling you are a part of something greater than yourself

Examples: Music festivals, religion, family, sports teams

Conclusion

Have you heard of these theories before? Drop a comment and let us know.

Many psychology aficionados like myself get too hung up on fallacies and disorders. This way of looking at the science of the mind makes it easier for us to accept ourselves as we are — equally equipped with Strengths and weaknesses.