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Engagement In An Activity Boosts Life Satisfaction

December 15, 2013
Amanda Chan

You know that feeling when you completely lose yourself in a sport you love? When all that's on your mind is the task at hand, and it's so fun that it's all you want to do?

Well, according to a new study, that totally immersed, engaged feeling is good for your well-being.

The study, from researchers at Yonsei University in the Republic of Korea, examined 279 skiing and snowboarding visitors at three resorts in South Korea. To determine how exactly skiing and snowboarding affect life satisfaction and happiness, they assessed three elements after the participants spent some time engaging in their sport out in the snow: sense of pleasure, level of flow/engagement, and sense of involvement and satisfaction.

Researchers found that the act of skiing and snowboarding did boost life satisfaction and happiness, with flow seeming to have the biggest effect.

"Flow showed the highest predictive power on satisfaction followed by involvement. Pleasure only had significant indirect effects on satisfaction, via flow and involvement," the researchers wrote in the Applied Research in Quality of Life study. "This supports the notion from previous studies that flow and meaning have superior effects on satisfaction while pleasantness serves as a supplemental effect."

Fortunately, you don't have to ski or snowboard every day to get this positive effect -- researchers found that even people who participated in a one-off ski outing experienced benefits.

"Adult playfulness can influence people's happiness, while activities and socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing have positive psychological outcomes and contribute to overall well-being," study researcher Hyun-Woo Lee said in a statement. "This is also true for people who only casually participate in sports."