You’ve probably noticed that the people you know who are always busy also tend to be happy. This link between being busy and being happy was recently reinforced by a study done by the journal of Psychological Science. The study involved participants who were required to do specific tasks; the results indicated that participants who had to do more or walk farther to achieve a specific goal were more satisfied. The most obvious reason people prefer being busy is the result of our culture’s emphasis on being productive. We expect members of society to have some sort of impact or, at the very least, to not be a drain on resources. Adults are expected to hold jobs, pay their own way in life, and contribute toward the well-being of others in some way. It’s not surprising that many of us feel a twinge of guilt if we’re idle for too long. We also enjoy the sense of accomplishment that being busy gives us. Often we feel the most fulfilled when we’re running around trying to accomplish multiple tasks. If a week is particularly busy or stressed, we may feel harried, but at the end of the week we’ll also feel a glow of satisfaction. Part of this may be tied to our desire to be needed. If we’re busy because others have asked a lot of us, we understand our place in the grand scheme of things is important. Being busy means we’re needed, and being needed makes us happy. Being busy also helps us expend energy. If we’re too stagnant, we tend to feel jittery and look for ways to burn up that extra energy. Having activities to keep us occupied lets us use our energy productively, leading to a sense of satisfaction that contributes to happiness. Just a few generations ago, humans as a whole did much more physical labor than they do now; is it any wonder that we often feel our best when we’re busy?