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3 Things to Know: Why too much free time is not good for you

We all love to get some free time from our busy schedules.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 8:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Is too much free time good for you?

We all love to get some free time from our busy schedules.

But, it turns out, too much of it can be just as bad as having too little free time. We’ve got three things to know.

Thing one is where this information is coming from.

This is all according to new research at The Wharton School.

Overall, more than 35,000 Americans (35,375) were studied.

They did different surveys, some focusing on what they did the prior day, and their sense of well-being. Others were asked about how much free time they get during a day, and their well-being.

Thing two is what the researchers learned.

Higher levels of free time were linked with higher levels of well-being.

But, only up to a certain point. After that, extra free time wasn’t linked with greater well-being anymore. So what’s the magic number?

That’s thing three.

Three and a half hours of free time.

The researchers did a follow-up experiment where people had different amounts of designated free time and had to report their well-being.

Some had 15 minutes of free time, some had 3 1/2 hours, and another group had seven hours.

The people with 15 minutes or seven hours reported lower levels of well-being. But, what you do with your free time matters.

People who had high levels of free time, but spent it doing things like working out or hobbies, felt just as good as people who had those 3 1/2 hours of free time.

The researchers say this is all really important for people who have just retired or left a job to know.

The lead author says: “In cases when people do find themselves with excessive amounts of discretionary time, such as retirement or having left a job, our results suggest these individuals would benefit from spending their newfound time with purpose.”

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