POSTED: September 19, 2018
Arts | Society

Flow Activities as a Route to Living Well With Less

Journal Paper by Amy Isham, Birgitta Gatersleben and Tim Jackson
Environment and Behavior
September 2018

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Abstract

Research suggests that the excessive focus on the acquisition of material goods promoted by our consumer society may be detrimental to well-being. Current Western lifestyles, which promote unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, therefore risk failing to bring citizens the happiness they seek.

Csikszentmihalyi suggested that engaging in challenging, flow-conducive activities is a means by which individuals can improve well-being without substantially affecting the environment. In this article, we test this proposal by examining data concerning the daily experiences and well-being of 500 U.S. families. We show that individuals who experience stronger characteristics of flow in their leisure activities tend to have greater momentary well-being, whereas those experiencing flow more frequently report greater retrospective well-being. Moreover, a small negative relationship was found between an activity’s flow score and its environmental impact. The analysis allows us to identify a specific group of high-flow, low–environmental impact activities.

The article can be accessed via Sage Journals. Should you have difficulties accessing the paper, please email us for a copy.

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