Grey cat relaxing and reading

The Top 10 Most Relaxing Activities, According To Science

A global survey has pinpointed the most restful activities - how many of your favourites made the list?

By Alexia Dellner, 03 October 2016
The Top 10 Most Relaxing Activities, According To Science

When was the last time you felt well and truly rested? 

It turns out that having a bit of downtime is essential for our sense of wellbeing!

For many of us, finding the time and space to relax can be near impossible, and often falls down the list of priorities for the day. In fact, according to a recent global study, more than two thirds of people would like to get more rest!

The survey, dubbed ‘The Rest Test,’ was spearheaded by Durham University and collected data from 18,000 people from 134 countries on people’s different experiences and attitudes towards feeling rested, including their preferred methods for how to relax.

The results? It turns out that having a bit of downtime is essential for our sense of wellbeing!

Participants from around the world answered a series of questions, including how much time they spent resting per day. The survey found that those who felt they needed more rest scored lower in terms of wellbeing, whereas those who responded saying they thought they got more rest than average or didn't feel in need of more rest, had wellbeing scores twice as high as those who wanted more. Interesting stuff!

Dr Felicity Callard, principal investigator on the project, said: "The survey shows that people’s ability to take rest, and their levels of well-being, are related. We’re delighted that these findings combat a common, moralizing connection between rest and laziness."

In other words, you shouldn't feel like having some time to relax means that you're being lazy - it's important for your health!

The study also identified the activities that people found the most restful. Do you agree with this top 10 list of most relaxing activities? 

The 10 Activities For How To Relax

  1. Reading 
  2. Being in the Natural Environment
  3. Being on Your Own
  4. Listening to Music
  5. Doing Nothing in Particular
  6. Walking
  7. Having a Bath or Showering
  8. Daydreaming
  9. Watching TV
  10. Meditating or Practicing Mindfulness


Interestingly, many of the activities in the top 10 list are often done alone. 

'It’s intriguing that the top activities considered restful are frequently done on one’s own,' said Dr Callard. 'Perhaps it’s not only the total hours resting or working that we need to consider, but the rhythms of our work, rest and time with and without others.'

That'll be us cosying up with a book tonight! What do you think? Let us know your preferred method for how to relax below!