Passionate leisure experiences provide a natural, free and unlimited resource to meet perhaps the greatest global energy crisis – the human energy needed to survive, thrive and drive the world’s economy.
Change is affecting everything – including the role and potential of leisure in today's high pressure society. Leisure is back in business, providing solutions to urgent global problems.
Leisure’s had a bad press for too long. It was killed off by the emergence of the 19th century traditional work ethic which preached that work was ‘the way to heaven and leisure was the work of the devil’. It wasn’t so much that the work ethic dignified the role of work but that it demeaned the role of leisure. While the religious fervour died out, it has taken until now to reassert its rightful role in the development of personal growth and productivity.
Stress is killing health by stealth. There is a global human energy crisis – we are burning human energy faster than we create it, with the inevitable result that burnout symptoms are everywhere – at work and in community life. The fact that stress has, per se, an important role to play in personal and business development masks the damage that prolonged excessive stress is having on mental health. The damage caused through workaholism - like alcoholism - doesn’t become apparent until too late. Depression, stress-related illnesses, broken homes and even suicide are signs of the damage that unrelenting stress is causing in today’s world.
I’ll have what she’s having!! Don’t you envy those people who not only cope well with stress but positively appear to thrive? It’s not so much that they have something the rest of us don’t have. Rather they have found a way of generating renewed mental strength, resilience and a sense of being calm in crises. They have a steady resource of natural energy that sustains their resilience, a resource they regularly tap at will.
Resilience is built on the mental/emotional energy of the heart, mind and spirit and is found in any energizing interest, especially when that interest is a freely-chosen leisure/recreational interest, over which the person has full control and which expresses their unique talents, passions and natural potential.
Leisure hasn’t changed. Circumstances have. We need to re-state the definition of leisure to demonstrate it offers solutions that people want. Leisure is and always has been a positive experience rather than time-based – free or otherwise. An experience one creates when freely expressing their unique passions and talents for the intrinsic enjoyment of doing so. The simplicity of that statement belies its powerful impact and effects.
When you lose yourself in an interest you love, you find yourself. It’s a naturally energizing experience. The real self comes to the surface, unleashing enthusiasm, creativity and open-mindedness. There is an energy force driving the process – an emotional energy. It generates a positive ripple effect through every aspect of one’s life, heightening self-esteem, self-confidence and the sense of self-worth.
Leisure is nature’s stress manager. Natural Energy comes from within – personal, unlimited, natural, free, readily available at any time you experience your favourite leisure (as defined in this article) experience. Emotional energy that drives all the characteristics of positive human behaviour - alert and purposeful thinking, heightened self esteem, with life-expanding outcomes. All of this infects the enthusiasm of surrounding people. The lack of such energy causes the process to become negative - sluggish thinking, lowered self-esteem, a sense of stagnancy and draining the energy of people around them.
Work life balance doesn’t work. Work life harmony is the way to go. You cannot deficit budget time but you can deficit budget emotional energy. An energizing leisure interest can provide the mental energy needed for extended periods of time. Experienced often enough, it can change one’s whole outlook on life. The secret lies in reviewing not so much how you spend your time but how you allocate your mental energies. An imbalance of energy-burning and energy-generating interests can have only one eventual outcome – burnout.
A desirable work life harmony program is one in which there is a harmonious mix of energy spent on dealing with stress-generating responsibilities and energy-generating interests.
Business benefits in so many ways. There’s so many ripple effects flowing from leisure to business. An energizing leisure interest triggers a ripple effect that can eventually “turn the negativity ship around”. This leads to sustained higher quality productivity, increased enthusiasm for and commitment to work responsibilities, staff stability and reduced risks of stress-related illnesses and OHS claims. When all staff are officially encouraged to recognize and pursue this kind of work life harmony, the business can look forward to an increasingly positive and happy workplace culture.
Leisure is back in business in a big way. It is resuming its rightful role of providing a vital component to personal growth and development at home, work and at play. Passionate leisure experiences provide a natural, free and unlimited resource to meet perhaps the greatest global energy crisis – the human energy needed to survive, thrive and drive the world’s economy.