Do you ever feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done? The next time you're feeling pressed for time, consider offering to help a friend or even a stranger.
According to researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, helping other people can alleviate time-related stress. Researchers found that spending time at the aid of other people is better at boosting your perception of free time than an equal amount of time spent relaxing or doing something for yourself.
"Long to-do lists can make you feel stingy with your time," explains the study's lead author, Cassie Mogilner, Ph.D."If you're more generous to others, you'll feel capable, effective, and less time-constrained."
In the experiment, participants were asked to engage in acts of kindness such as writing a note to a sick child. There are plenty of great ways that you could put this into practice in your own life, especially during the holiday season. Helping an elderly neighbor shovel snow out of her driveway, buying a gift for a child in need, or volunteering at a local shelter are all great ways to help others and make yourself feel richer in time.
It might seem like there simply is not enough time to do all the things we need to do, especially during the busy month of December. However, this research demonstrates that giving a little time to the service of others can actually increase our perception of free time. "When individuals feel time-constrained, they should become more generous with their time despite their inclination to be less so," Mogilner suggests.
Image by Rosie O'Beirne (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)