5 Facts On How A Vacation Affects Your Mind, Body & Soul – According To Science

Here’s what we know and too often find ourselves saying:

There is no way I can be away from work for that long.

I really need a break or life is going to break me.

Who are you kidding? I can’t afford to take a vacation.

What you may not know is that science has a lot to say on the subject of health, happiness and vacations. This comprehensive article from Scientific American lists several proven studies on this very subject. And, if you’re looking for solid evidence to show your family or boss why taking a vacation is good for you, look no further.

  • When you feel happy, your entire body physiologically changes. This study shows how vacation anticipation alone will make you do the happy dance. Vacations lower blood pressure and give your immune system a boost too. Ask your doctor their thoughts on your next visit; your heart will thank you too.
  • Exploring new places increases dopamine levels in your brain. Dopamine, aka the reward molecule, is commonly associated with the ‘pleasure system’ of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment. Vacations give you this naturally.
  • Memories will make you smile for years to come. Recent research at Cornell University found that spending money on experiences is more likely to bring you lasting happiness than spending money on material things. Even bad travel memories will have you telling stories and laughing about it after. Like the time my luggage was lost in Thailand and the hotel told me I should go ask the clerk at the 7-Eleven if they can help me.
  • Creativity & productivity increases. The benefits you and your job receive when you put the real world aside and give yourself a rest are measurable. The accounting firm Ernst & Young did a study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8 percent. Mental down time increases your creative juices because it makes room for new sensations it hasn’t felt before.
  • Traveling really does make you smarter. Your mind begins to activate in brand new ways. All of your senses get sparkled with new sights, smells and tastes. You return home with a broader perspective about yourself and the world we live in. Bonus is… you probably made new friends too.

When life becomes a drag, browse around for images of the places you always wanted to see. Watch what happens, your mind begins to change, you start to imagine and dream. Nothing wrong with that.