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Benefits of Leisure and Recreation

Shalu Bhatti
With the world getting more and more competitive and fast-paced, who has the time to reap the benefits of leisure and recreation? Right? But, what if I tell you that the activities that are given the least priority in your daily schedule would actually prove to be rewarding in each and every sphere of life?
"The word recreation is really a very beautiful word. It is defined in the dictionary as "the process of giving new life to something, of refreshing something, of restoring something." This something, of course, is the whole person." ~ Bruno Hans Geba
They say that you get to live this life only once, so why not live it to the fullest? How do you live life to the fullest? Trust me, more than 90% of the people would actually say, 'how can you enjoy life unless you have the financial security and the TIME to indulge in leisure rather than making ends meet'? Is this what you would say too?
Well, we all wish to live life to the fullest, but meeting the daily demands of life makes us so occupied, that indulging in the 'non-productive' activities just to have some 'fun', is something that doesn't come under our list of priorities regularly.
I mean, when it comes to doing so many things in a short span of 24 hours in a day, you would obviously do what is necessary for survival and not for fun. What if I tell you that you are less likely to survive in the long run if you avoid leisure and recreational activities?
What if I tell you that leisure and recreational activities would actually allow you to refuel all the energy that you need to deal with the daily pressures of work and home?
If your life is all about getting up in the morning, going to work, coming back home, and going to sleep, then you really need to know the benefits of leisure and recreation, and how they can contribute in making your life all the more relaxed and productive at the same time.

Advantages of Leisure and Recreational Activities

"Life lived amidst tension and busyness needs leisure. Leisure that recreates and renews. Leisure should be a time to think new thoughts, not ponder old ills." ~ Neil Strait
Very well said by Neil Strait! I mean we feel more than happy when we get the time to even relax for a while and take a nap. But, the busyness of life makes our mind occupied with thoughts, thoughts that do not help in relaxing us, but make us all the more restless!
Which is why, whenever you get the time, make sure that you engage yourself in leisure activities that rejuvenate your mind and not make you ponder over what is going on in your life.
Engaging in recreational activities refreshes your mind, makes you more healthy and active, increases your enthusiasm to live life, improves your health, makes you more socially active, makes you more happy, reduces stress, makes you more positive in life..., and the list goes on and on and on!
Mentioned here are some useful examples of the benefits of leisure and recreation. Have a look!

✔ If Health is Wealth, then Leisure is Your Key to Wealth!

"People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness." ~ John Wanamaker

I have written an entire story on the health benefits of leisure and recreation! I mean I can spend all day talking about it!
To begin with, what are the main health issues that have become a global concern these days? Obesity, heart problems, diabetes, right? The main causes of all these health issues are stress and lack of physical activities.
Leisure and recreational activities would actually allow you to relax your mind, and make your body more fit and active, thereby minimizing the chances to develop chronic diseases like those mentioned before.
You will have a strengthened immune system, reduced stress levels, and ultimately an increased life expectancy and self-esteem. Don't you think all this is required for a happy and productive life?

✔ A Healthy Mind and Body are More Productive!

"Life is best enjoyed when time periods are evenly divided between labor, sleep, and recreation... all people should spend one-third of their time in recreation which is rebuilding, voluntary activity, never idleness." ~ Brigham Young
I actually don't think there is a need to elaborate on this point! All you need is a healthy, active, and stress free mind and body to take on the pressure that you need to tackle in your daily life.
I mean why do people go for long holidays, or wish to take a mini break or something when dealing with a monotonous or stressful daily environment, be it at work or at home? This is because when you are having some fun in activities that take your mind off the daily schedule, you are ready to pounce back with a positive attitude and a focused and alert mind.

✔ Leisure Gives You a Chance for Social Bonding!

"You can learn more about a man in one hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation." ~ Plato

Your mind and body become still when you don't give them variety in your daily life. Man is a social animal, I mean you need to interact with others in order to improve your self-esteem and confidence!
Forget about bonding with new people, nowadays people don't even have the time to bond with their own family. Getting involved with recreational activities allows you to bond with your family members and strengthen your interpersonal relationships. Have you heard of the song Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin?
It's about the relationship between a busy workaholic dad and his son... and how the busy life never gave the dad a chance to bond with the son. It is sad that in today's world, most of the families lack interpersonal relationships and emotional bonding.
So, make sure that you do take out some time to spend with your family and friends. You will be more happy and satisfied with life, trust me!

✔ Leisure Curbs the Negativity in You!

"An idle mind is the Devil's workshop..., so is the case with a monotonous life, if not the Devil's workshop, it isn't heaven either!

Have you ever wondered why does our society have crime and criminals? I was just reading about some of the famous criminals in the United States. 
To my surprise, most of them were abused in some form or the other as kids..., the abusers were the parents or the guardians. If you try to understand as to why we become abusive, you will find its roots in our inner frustration and pressure that becomes too much to handle. A calm parent would deal with the kids in a much more calm way.
For example, if the kid spills a glass of water on the floor, a calm parent would ask the kid if he is OK, and say that it's OK, we all make mistakes and learn from it.
On the other hand, if you are frustrated from your work or otherwise, you might start abusing the kid as to how incapable and worthless he or she is..., trust me, I have seen many parents do that.
Kids who don't get a secure and loving environment tend to go astray and get involved in unhealthy activities and lifestyle, and the cycle keeps going from generations to generations.

✔ Leisure and Recreation Gives you a Chance to Re-discover Yourself!

"It is in his pleasure that a man really lives; it is from his leisure that he constructs the true fabric of self." ~ Agnes Repplier

We always think of our school and college days, and how life was so 'enjoyable' back then! Well, then what has changed?
Am sure the places are still there, the people are still there, what isn't there is the TIME  and the ENTHUSIASM. The world is still the same, if it has ways to pressure your mind and your life, it also has ways to take them off your head..., well, at least for a while!
So these were some of the main points, which pretty much sum up the importance of recreation and leisure in one's life! Trust me, all the pressures, problems and issues in life can be sorted with a calm and relaxed mind and body.
So, no matter how busy you are, how caught up you are with your deadlines and targets, give leisure and recreational activities like camping, trekking, hiking etc., if not more, then equal importance in your life. They will rejuvenate not only your mind, but your entire life! Have a peaceful and satisfying life!