This paper explored the psychological mechanisms by which leisure enhances well-being by using sentence-by-sentence coding of the best-possible-selves text produced by 112 participants. Of the 1097 sentences, 41% were coded as leisure indicating that leisure is an important component of optimal well-being. The data showed that Australians have significantly less leisure in their daily lives than our sample desired; older and wealthier individuals placed a greater emphasis on leisure but there were no significant differences based on gender. Application of the Detachment-Recovery, Autonomy, Mastery, Meaning, Affiliation (DRAMMA) framework showed the following allocation of sentences to psychological mechanisms: Detachment-Recovery-21%, Autonomy-23%, Mastery-12%, Meaning-11% and Affiliation-33%. In their ideal future, participants imagined that they have the time and money to do what they want, particularly, to travel. We showed leisure is not solely associated with ‘having fun’; 59% of participants wanted to use their leisure time to learn, improve, or contribute to society.
- best possible self
- social interaction