Leisure time spent at home with family may not only satisfy individuals but also become a more effective route to happiness, says a study.
The best predictor of happiness for families may be spending quality time together in familiar activities inside the home, the researchers said.
“That may be because when the brain is focused on processing new information — such as taking part in an unfamiliar activity with unfamiliar people in a new location — less ‘brain power’ is available to focus on the family relationships,” said lead author Karen K Melton, Assistant Professor at Baylor University in Texas, US.
On the other hand, while quality time together contributes to satisfaction with family life, “all family leisure is not equal”, Melton added.
Melton also said the catchy expression, “The family that plays together, stays together!” carries two misconceptions: that all family leisure brings positive results and that all family activities are equal.
“Family members can also express stress and conflict as well as pleasure during leisure time. The activities alone will not heal the scars of hurting families,” she noted.
While stating that one-size may not fit all families, Melton said: “for some families, quality togetherness is having dinner together or playing games; for others, it may be hobbies, videos or TV, music,” Melton said.
For the study, researchers used a sample of 1,502 individuals in 884 families in Britain. Each family unit taking part in the online research had at least one child between the age of 11 and 15.
Participants answered questions about whether they took part in family leisure in the past years, and if so, what activities they did, how much time they spent doing them and how frequently they did so.
The study was published in World Leisure Journal.