Friday, June 5, 2015

Why You Thank God That It's Friday

Friday is the the most celebrated day of the week. But you already knew that. What you may not know is why.

Sure, Friday marks the end of the the workweek and the beginning of the weekend. And yes, it's when most people get paid. Friday appears to trump all other days of the week in terms of good things happening at one time. No wonder it's anticipated with such enthusiasm.

But that's on the conscious level.

Subconsciously, there are many emotional and psychological forces that make (working) adults want to jump for joy on Fridays. These forces are known as The Weekend Effect, whereby mood is more positive and less negative on weekends than the rest of the week.

But why are they more positive? Because the weekend 
signals the end of work activities; a time of respite and revitalization...and a stoppage of the work (you don't enjoy) that lowers mood. 

This is why you thank God that it's Friday.

Once the weekend arrives you can engage in self-direction, close relations, and leisure activities - all of which are basic human needs that are key components of self-determination theory. The workweek and work (for most) is unpleasant because it doesn't offer the fulfillment of these needs. The weekend does.

One of my favorite psychology researchers, Richard Ryan, who co-authored the best book written on human motivation, Why We Do What We Do, conducted research on the Weekend Effect and examined the impact of weekends and work on well-being in adults. He discovered that for many the weekend is a time of respite and revitalization that gets quickly overshadowed by the Blue Monday Phenomenon (BMP), whereby Monday’s mood is worse than that of other days of the week. 

Ryan concluded that this "roller-coaster scenario" makes the fulfillment of the aforementioned human needs difficult, and significantly impacts one's well-being and creates a life in which one is truly "living for the weekends."

I know mission-driven people who have successfully aligned what they do, with who they are, and they view the weekends as an unwanted pause in their bliss; an unnecessary interruption to the flow that their professional roles put them in. They are the minority. But if we can all applaud the mantra of "living each day as if its your last," we should see that one's last day (of living) may not fall on the weekend.

Below, Richard Ryan sheds more light on The Weekend Effect.

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