Sunday, February 5, 2017

Be happy--plan an adventure


Go ahead—take that vacation! It’s the healthy thing to do.
The personal benefits of travel have been widely studied, but Americans get the least amount of vacation time among countries in the industrialized world, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association.  Even when allowed unlimited vacation time, a trend more corporations are adopting, most people don’t take as much time off as they should.

There are several reasons why vacation time can help you live longer and happier.
Relaxing on a lovely beach makes a healthy vacation.
Health benefits: Research shows that an annual vacation can cut a person’s risk of heart attack by 50 percent. Even a short holiday can bring down blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of stress hormones. Active leisure time directly contributes to higher levels of physical and mental health—with a bonus that travelers sleep better.

Anticipation: Other research has shown that the path to happiness is paved with planning and waiting for an event to happen.  For some people, planning a trip or adventure is almost as much fun as actually going. It puts your brain in overdrive with anticipation. Some people might even hold off on an experience so they can savor thinking about it longer.
So many places to drive or hike--plan your activities.
Enjoyment: A study from Cornell University shows that people who spend discretionary income on experiences such as travel are happier than when buying material goods. Think how happy society as a whole could be if people focused on getting away from routine more.

Relationships: Studies show that 40 percent of travelers feel more romantic on vacation, and more than half of working Americans say they come back from a vacation feeling reconnected with their family.
Improve work performance: Spending time away from the office, especially by traveling, also helps prevent burnout and improves performance after returning from a vacation. By relieving stress, time away reduces absences, increases efficiency, and helps you bring a fresh approach to work issues.

Discover new places like the Wynwood Arts district in Miami.
Memories: Think about the pleasure you get from talking about and sharing experiences with others afterwards (got a stack of photos or videos to show?). The Cornell University study supports the pleasurable memory factor since it found that people get more retrospective enjoyment and satisfaction from experiential purchases than from material purchases.
Reconnect with loved ones during
shared experiences.
Life satisfaction: Even planning vacation travel generates an increase in positive feelings about one’s life, family, economic situation, and health.  Looking forward to an event often opens up a person for conversation and can help lift depression of people dealing with emotional traumas. Spending time at pleasant vacation locations, exercising during vacation, and making new acquaintances helps people keep their lives in balance.

With all those benefits, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your next trip!
Photos by Larry and  Beverly Burmeier

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