Leisure is Essential, Study Shows

With summer vacations and, we hope, a more leisurely pace ahead, here’s some information that will ensure you take your much-needed time away from work. Dr. E. Christine Moll is a professional counselor and professor of counseling and human services at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. She was featured in an article on News-Medical.net about the importance of leisure.

Molls says: “It [leisure] airs out our brain. It renews our spirit. It gives us clarity of thought. It’s a benefit to our blood pressure. It gives us life satisfaction. For all the dimensions of our lives: our physical, mental, spiritual and cognitive health, leisure time should be a necessity not a luxury.” Christine, we like the way you think.

More insight from the article:

Moll also notes that the biggest abusers of the all-work-and-no-play lifestyle are Baby Boomers. “This generation really pushes to gain the American Dream and thinks nothing of putting in long hours or forgoing vacations for only long weekends,” she says. “They often find it hard to put the brakes on, catch their breath and relax.”

Moll’s colleague, David L. Farrugia, PhD, chair of the Counseling and Human Services Department at Canisius and a professional counselor, says that by the time patients come to him, many have already visited their primary doctor for anxiety-like symptoms. Stress is often the culprit. “Physiologically, the body is able to adapt and function at high levels of stress but eventually it begins to take its toll on a person’s mental and physical health,” says Farrugia. In the professional world this condition is known as general adaptive syndrome (GAS), first identified by Hans Selye, MD, who pioneered stress research and is known internationally as the “father of the stress field.”

If the physical concerns aren’t enough to provoke you to put play into your life, Moll says to consider the long-term benefits of leisure. Under Moll’s guidance, Canisius alumna, Summer M. Reiner examined the pivotal role leisure can play throughout a person’s life. “Findings show that people who nurture leisure activities throughout their lives have a much healthier outlook physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and in their sense of selves, says Reiner.

In our book, The Plan, we stress the need for balance among the three life areas: work, personal/family and economic. If there’s nothing happening on the personal side, and this includes exercise, being with family, good old doing nothing, as well as vacations, then, in time, you’ll feel the effects from that lack of replenishment.

Have you planned your  summer vacation?