Role Leisure and Tourism Plays in Human Happiness

Role Leisure and Tourism Plays in Human Happiness

Happiness is necessary for each person. Supposing a person makes a judgment on the basis of the numerous self-help books published each year, he will concluded that happiness is extremely important element of people’s lives. Indeed, reflection about happiness started many centuries ago. The ancient Greeks had much interest in happiness, promoting philosophers such as Aristotle to think of happiness as, arising from “living according to reason” (Rojek, 2000). Since then people have to explain and experience happiness in different ways. With the need to discover more, the marvel of the unknown began to gain more interest with the development of feeling of sophistication , with which, people began to believe that indeed, happiness cannot be achieved from external world, but rather, can be achieved from inside, and therefore, the external world can offer the require glow. Indeed, the mere fact from earlier times people selected isolated location for mediation, proves this concept in humans. Maybe, it is during that time of understanding the idea of leisure and tourism that people envisioned the view that happiness is state that can only be created by an individual himself (Seligman, et al., 2005), Connecting this concept with the sense of artistic and inner satisfaction. Following that train of thought, it can be stated that leisure and tourism industry can act as the link between people and their pursuit of creating happiness from the amazing scenes of the world. Consequently, this present paper explores the role leisure and tourism plays in human happiness.
2.0 Stimulation theory
Another theory that tries to explain how people are motivated to take part in leisure activity is stimulation theory. According this theory, watching violence or aggression elicits more violence from the viewer (Christensen & Wood, 2007). Stimulation theory argues that a person’s tendency to act violently will be aroused by the media. A study carried out by Christensen & Wood, (2007) established that media violence increases adolescent violence when relating with strangers and even friend. By being exposed to violence as well as antisocial activities, individuals will becomes less sensitive and less worried about the results of violent acts. Russell (2002) as well describes another theory related to stimulation theory, arousal-seeking theory; this theory suggests that individuals require a certain amount of physical and mental activity. Those people who strive to attain an optimum state of stimulus will engage in physical activities. In addition, this theory argues that anytime media content arouses a person, particularly a teenager, he/she would want to maintain that arousal and seek extra pleasure through real application of physical energy.
On the basis of these two theories, an individual who is highly stimulated by media exposure is therefore, more likely to increase his/her arousal intensity and will be more willing to pursue his/her optimum state of stimulus from comparatively enduring physical activities. in general, the two stimulation theory proposes that watching television, watching videos as well as playing computer games can stimulate a person’ emotion to engage in more active activity. Those who spend more hours watching television, videos playing computer games are high likely to seek active leisure activities.
3.0 Flow theory
Csikszentmihalyi (1992) points out that flow is a panhuman constant, and that individuals will take part voluntarily in activities in which they experience flow since the deep pleasure makes the activities very motivational. When people understand of floe and the link between enjoyment and leisure activities, they will choose leisure activities that elicit flow. The moment a person experiences flow, he want to repeat the experience in their lives ones more.

Csikszentmihalyi (1997) formulated the flow theory, and list eight attributes of flow, these are, balance between challenges and skill level, ii) clear cut goals, action and awareness merge, intense concentration, loss of self-consciousness, strong feeling of control, altered sense of time , and autotelic experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997, 24). even though it seems that it has difficult to achieve separately, a person may achieve flow without being aware, while another one may take many days without experiencing flow, since it is occurs from daily activities people undertake. simple things like concentrating on reading a book that is interesting but at the same time challenging, will make a person forget the track of time and awareness (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). When a person goes through moments of low, the person feels as though he is at peace with the world.
Whereas many assume that when experiencing flow, a person is happy due to the felling of peace, Csikszentmihalyi (1997) points out that this is not necessarily the case. He explains that the feeling of happiness is absent during the moment of flow, since when a person is experiencing flow, his attention is placed at the activity being undertaken and not the person’s feelings. In many cases feeling happy will divert the attention and concentration required to feel flow. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) asserts that it is just after the activity is over that a person can reflect on activity and be satisfied with the results. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) also clearly states that “happiness that follows flow is of our own making, and it leads to increasing complexity and growth in consciousness” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997: 32).
This paper is interested in flow theory and stimulation theory because the component attributes of flow make it appropriate for examining people’s enjoyment of leisure activities in tourism. It is from the understanding of deep enjoyable experiences that a rise from leisure activities under certain settings, that makes this theory suitable for exploring the concept of human happiness in leisure and tourism.
4.0 How stimulation theory and concept of flow relate to human happiness and the leisure and tourism industry
The various theories of leisure and happiness are connected by varying attributes and perspectives. Classic leisure is explained as “reflection of the good life”. Accordingly the classical viewpoint of happiness and particularly the intellectual viewpoint held by Aristotle, suppose that happiness could be achieved by critical reflection about life’s questions and thoughts continuously since is what defines human and results in a more divine picture (Green & Jones, 2005). Both classical leisure theory and Aristotle viewpoint entail critically assessing an individual life and his surrounding to understand what happiness entails and knows how to achieve.
Once an individual takes time to reflect and assess what is important in their lives and what entails “the good life”, that person can then examine themselves to establish their strengths and apply them to achieve something bigger than their self (Russell, 2002). Therefore, the moment this is achieved a person can find the meaning of their lives and be happy. However, this viewpoint that is supported by classical leisure theory and Aristotle seems to be limited in the contemporary world.
The main necessities of happiness are thought to be something to hope for and a good deed you can so for someone you care, however, this explanation sometimes seems to be outdated by the contemporary concept of happiness for example, “life is full of action” “party a lot and be happy”. There are many scholars who support this form of go-as you-wish concept of happiness, that perceives people can only get happiness when they getaway from the daily chores or escape from their moral duties. In addition, extreme partying or even socialising when one is supposed to be resting cannot create happiness; it will only merely make the person more tired. As Csikszentmihalyi (1982) questions, how comes that in spite of the great technological advancement that the modern society has achieved still makes them more hopeless when facing life compared to our less technological advanced ancestors. Csikszentmihalyi (1982) answers himself by stating that whereas individuals collectively have increased their material powers numerous times, they have not achieved in regards to improving the content of this material powers. Csikszentmihalyi (1982) observation evidently outlines that the ancient tradition of pursuing happiness still exists on, possibly in a new form.
Csikszentmihalyi (1997) has examined and explained the manner of enjoyable experiences in various cultural and life environments in activities such as work, leisure and sports. They established that these activities are constant in people’s experiences. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) explains that the enjoyment of flow, within a certain condition, can come from focused involvement in any type of activity.
Taking part in meaningful leisure activities has been established to have a positive impact on a person’s life (see, Diener et al., 1992). Owing to this, understating of leisure activities, and the pleasure that is derived from engaging in leisure, serious leisure has been praised by some scholars. Harralambos &Holborn (1991) for example, reminds us of the high proportions of unemployment, high suicide cases, and longevity arising from higher medical care standards as suitable to an increasing requirement for leisure activities. Indeed, leisure activities have historically been applied as a mitigating aspect of such social situations. As noted by Csikszentmihalyi (2008) happiness does not just occur, and does not result from good luck or accidental. On the contra, happiness is a condition that has to be prepared for, nurtured and protected privately by every individual (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008). Touring and other activities have some of the activities that can result in positive experience.
Using stimulation, one can understand why some people decide to take part in boring activities, and why they idolise musicians and actors who are simply presenting imitations of the society and real life rather than using their time to live their own life. According to Layard (2005) over a life time, a normal Briton uses more time watching TV than time spend doing paid work. Can this explain way people tend to prefer taking hours to admire the art works in galleries instead of crafting their own? Maybe we can try to apply arousal-seeking theory to answer this question. As the theory states some people seek to seek certain amount of physical and mental activity, so that they are aroused to get the drive to engage in physical activities or real activities that they watched on the television (Sandvoss, 2005). However, in the current fast paced environment, it appears that people are very busy and stop and engage in leisure activities and be happy.
5.0 Inner directedness’and if this is affecting the demand for leisure and tourism in the U.K
Inner-directedness is simply an internal force that motivates people to develop and to improve in their activities. People who have inner directedness tend to be adventuring (Diener et al., 1992). Having understood the concept of inner directedness, we can now examine how it can affect demand for leisure and tourism in the UK. Inner directedness will affect the type of leisure and tourism activities that individuals will engage in. accordingly, inner directedness will result in high demand of adventure tourism. As noted by Iwasaki &Schneider (2003) adventure tourism was motivated from inner directed people, individuals who understood that they could get various ways to experiencing happiness by actively participating in exciting but risky activities. This form of happiness derived from adventurous sports like sky diving, arises from adrenalin rush, where the body releases a hormone that increases blood pressure and fast heartbeat. Though these “adrenalin rushes” normally last for few minutes or even seconds, the thrill and satisfaction of attaining this state of mind seems to stay much longer with the individual.
Whereas Csikszentmihalyi and Neo-Marxists agreed on some points in this paper, they hold varying viewpoints on happiness and leisure. To start with Marcuse (as cited in Harralambos & Holborn, 1991) claims that the potential for personal developed is limited in developed countries, because work is tiring, and stupefying. Therefore, in such societies, leisure activities only entail forms of relaxation which ease and lengthen this stupefaction. This implies that leisure is merely a mirage. Nonetheless, this argument may have been applicable prior to work-life balance, and in factory environment.
Csikszentmihalyi (1997) appears to have already taken into consideration the work-life balance aspect and states that supposing a person’s job is past salvation, the person should ensure that at least he creates a chance for flow. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) adds that when a person is happy, his job becomes enjoyable just like leisure, if such a person breaks from the job to engage in leisure, he gets real recreation rather than a way for “resting the mind.” he as well claims that fee time is necessary to make someone “complete.” work only cannot does not make life complete (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997).
The above statement demonstrates that work is just one element of aspect of life, and therefore it is necessary to have other experiences. If we related this to inner directedness and demand for leisure, we can point out that demand for leisure and tourism will be affected positively if the UK labour force since there is work-life balance programs. Indeed, André Gorz (as cited in Harralambos et al, 1991), claims that leisure activities are determined by the capitalist structure in the same way it shapes a working day. Accordingly, it implies that to some degree, access to happiness is based on the economic condition. In western countries (including the UK) people can access adventure, and this means demand for thrilling leisure and tourism will increase among inner directed people (Diener et al., 1992). However, in countries that are dominated by primary industries, and where there are no work-life balance programs, accessing leisure and tourism is limited.
He repeats the idea that it is not wealth that is required to make a person happy, instead, it is creational active leisure activities that is required to be happy, to create flow Csikszentmihalyi (1997) . Certainly, this will affect the demand of tourism if many people seek leisure in the UK. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) sums up by stating that happy individuals focus on the present and apply past experiences to try and shape the future by what they undertake. This could be through work, however, it through leisure and creation that there is a high likelihood of creating “low”.
6.0 Whether the role leisure and tourism have in human happiness is a global human need or culturally based
Csikszentmihalyi (1997) asserts that people’s lives depend on the circumstances surrounding their birth as well as social groups determine a certain content of experience. Consequently, in accordance to this viewpoint, a person born into a higher social class can experience more intense feeling compared to that one born from a lower social class (Csikszentmihalyi (1997) this viewpoint is supported by several Marx theories that were formulated during the era of industrial revolution (Harralambos & Holborn, 1991) he viewed the industrial workers as “fodder” of the capitalist, meaning that more personal influence is an aspect that can only be accessed by those who can afford them at the first place. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) furthers states that though a person cannot choose his circumstances, he can control his live as an individual. this control comes from what the person does. when this views of Csikszentmihalyi and Marx theory are applied, the role leisure and tourism have in human happiness to some extend is cultural based, just like it is based on social class.
Yet again, this viewpoint is similar to views held by Seligman et al (2005) on happiness, where he states that enhancing happiness, ecstasy and satisfaction depends on the way an individual cultivates his optimistic individuality attributes as well as Aristotelian virtues for example, love, fairness, compassion and wisdom. Seligman et al (2005) asserts that in developing personality, a person is able to cultivate certain elements of lives in a clear perspective, which allows person to change his live and be happier. Nonetheless, this is works under the assumption that a person will have a drive to undertake these changes.
Although different theorists of happiness may have varying views on happiness, they all agree on their feelings towards happiness in regard to material wealth, a fact made clear by Csikszentmihalyi, 1997, 20), when he claimed that “we live in a false consciousness, where we are living in the best of all possible world.” Seligman et al (2005) shares a similar view of “the pleasant life” whereby Parr & Lashua (2004) underlines that a person is unavoidably doomed. On a similar note, Trenberth & Dewe (2005) also points to a report, indicating that personal earning in America doubled in a period of thirty years (1960-1990), yet the percentage of people who reported that they were happy did not rise. Though, may have been various variables that affected the results of the report, it can be concluded from sociological point that the role leisure and tourism have in human happiness is affected by social aspects, and culture is one of these social aspects (Rojek, 2000).
Accordingly, in relation to happiness, culture impacts the role of leisure and tourism plays in human happiness. This is underline by the fact that people from different cultures may experience different levels of happiness from similar activities.
7.0 Conclusion
Happiness is necessary for each person. Indeed, reflection about happiness started many centuries ago. There are several theories that try to explain happiness. In this paper we have discussed the stimulation theory and flow theory, and related them to the role leisure and tourism plays in human happiness. The paper has established that these theories, particularly flow theory provides an important understanding the role played by leisure and tourism in human happiness. To be happy a person has to get lost in activity that is challenging and exciting, the person will later experience flow. Inner directedness affects the type of leisure and tourism activities that individuals will engage in. Accordingly, inner directedness will result in high demand of adventure tourism. Regarding whether the role leisure and tourism have in human happiness is a global human need or culturally based, Csikszentmihalyi (1997) asserts that people’s lives depend on the circumstances surrounding their birth as well as social groups determine a certain content of experience. This means that to large extend culture affects the role leisure and tourism have in human.

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