Being busy is the secret to happiness.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in #happiness
Eric Barker writes:
Who among us are the most happy? Newly published research suggests it is those fortunate folks who have little or no excess time, and yet seldom feel rushed.This tension is very nicely demonstrated in a recent study by Hsee et al. (2010). When given the choice, participants preferred to do nothing, unless given the tiniest possible reason to do something: a piece of candy. Then they sprang into action.
Not only did people only need the smallest inducement to keep busy, they were also happier when doing something rather than nothing. It’s as if people understand that being busy will keep them happier, but they need an excuse of some kind.
Having plenty of time gives you a feeling of control and anything that increases your perception of control over a situation (whether it actually increases your control or not) can substantially decrease your stress level.
I think this is exactly right.
There's a lot more in the article: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/02/busy-happiness/