Monday, 11 January 2016

Turning Weekdays into Weekends

You might not think that an experiment was needed in order to find out that the majority of people prefer weekends to weekdays. But that is exactly whatpsychologists have done. [1]

Why do we prefer weekends?  Well, because that’s when we can spend time with the people we like best, doing the stuff we don’t have time to do during the week.

And they found that it’s not just employed people either that prefer weekends. Unemployed people also likeweekends [2] for the same reasons. And they can also do these things without the feeling that they maybe should be doing something productive.

And all that got me to thinking:

·         The majority of people appreciate spending time with others at weekends.

·         Appreciation and gratitude are strongly linked to greater happiness.[3]

·         For many people, some of their co-workers are also their friends.

·         So, unless you live and work in complete isolation, why not try to develop a habit of being aware of and appreciating the time spent with our co-workers, friends and family during the week, as well as at weekends? 

I decided to give it a try:

·         I began by filling out the Satisfaction WithLife survey[4], to give me an actual measure of my current happiness levels. I got a score of 23, which is average.

·        Then I set my intention every morning to appreciate the time I spend with other people. Obviously there will be people that I like more than others, but I generally enjoy the company of the majority of people I come into contact with on a daily basis.

I didn’t always remember to be appreciative at first, particularly with those who are not loved ones or friends, but after a couple of weeks it began to become a habit.

As I mainly work from home, some days the only person I actually see is my husband, but by appreciating the time we spend together in the mornings and evenings, it not only made me feel happier, it also strengthened our relationship. And that’s because appreciation is kind of contagious.

So my husband was also feeling happier.

At the end of the first month, I didn’t need the Satisfaction with Life Survey to know that I was happier, but I filled it out anyway, to give me that actual measure again. I was now scoring 32, which is described as “Veryhigh score; highly satisfied”.

Considering that over 70% of people in one of the above surveys don’t like their job, wouldn’t appreciating the time spend with their co-workers make it more bearable?

Now I am aware that it may not be easy, or even possible, to appreciate all of our co-workers, (or even some family members for that matter).  But there is a way of making it easier. And that’s will be the subject of a future blog. So watch this space... 

[1] Ryan, R.M., Bernstein, J.H., & Warren Brown, K. (2010) Weekends, Work, and Well-being: Psychological Need Satisfactions and Day of the Week Effects on Mood, Vitality, and Physical Symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 29 (1) 95–122.

[2] Young, C.,& Chaeyoon L.( 2014). Time as a Network Good: Evidence from Unemployment and the Standard Work Week. Sociological Science. Vol. 1:10–27.

[3] Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Personality & Social Psychology, 88, 377–389.

[4] Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale.Journal of Personality Assessment49, 71–75.

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