Some people draw more energy from their work than their free time. The reason for this lies in their brain.

Having some “me time” at home, going out with friends or working up a sweat at the gym? Which of these would you choose when you want to relax and recharge?

Which sounds more appealing: a clearly defined work task you get to perform in peace or intense brainstorming with a team? Your answers indicate the environment you need to thrive.

We usually think that work strains us and free time helps us recover. But what if you’re a person who relaxes at work?

My friend has worked as the chief human resource officer of a major listed company for years. We recently met for a cup of coffee. She told me how anxious she became on her maternity leave in Asia.

As the housekeeper kept the home clean and the children were at day care, my friend did everything she could to fill her days with exciting activities. Even so, the excessive free time seemed overwhelmingly heavy.

When performing a challenging liver transplantation, my professor of surgery said that it felt like a luxury vacation after spending a year at home with two children.

I understand them well. I’ve noticed that work tasks that require my full concentration are almost meditative and invigorating.

For a physician, a busy night shift at the emergency department feels somehow therapeutic, whereas a slow day at the clinic can sometimes feel like torture.

My observation on the energising capacity of work was proved when I was able to test the First Beat stress monitoring analysis in the Hehku television series. According to the analysis, the other presented Kiti Kokkonen and I were particularly relaxed in the meetings where we planned the series. After a 16-hour shoot, I was full of energy.

Why are my friend and I more energised by our work than our free time? Have our work habits alienated us from the bliss of doing nothing? Or can the explanation be found in brain chemistry?

Some of us are born more target-oriented and fast-paced than others. The differences are already apparent in early childhood. Some babies can lie on their backs staring at the ceiling for hours, while others crave stimuli.

The first race with friends on the front lawn or a game of Monopoly with family often reveals whether we have a competitive streak and gives a little peek into our temperament.

Some people require a steady flow of excitement and action in order to thrive. Others need peace and quiet every day in order to cope.

It is important to identify and accept your brain chemistry and your unique tendencies. It is also beneficial to consider how your work and working environment correspond to your needs.

As author Seth Godin put it: “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”