The Scientific Reason You Should Always Have A Holiday Planned
Well, we're convinced.
Holidays are great, right? You get to take a break from work, explore the world and get our of your comfort zone – it’s almost like you’re a new and improved person once you return.
But could the so-called “post-holiday glow” actually be a myth? A recent study has shown that you’re actually at your happiest in the lead up to your holiday.
A study conducted by Dutch researchers set out to find the link between vacations, happiness, and, specifically, how long that holiday happiness lasts. They surveyed 1530 Dutch adults, of which 974 took a vacation during the 32-week research period.
Interestingly, the study all-but proved we derive the largest amount of happiness from anticipating a holiday, not the holiday itself.
Think about it: you’re probably the happiest when you’re thinking about all the possibilities of your trip – all the sights, sounds, smells, and the food! In the days leading up to your departure, you’ll be fielding questions from co-workers and hearing your friends telling you how jealous they are. Excitement levels are at an all-time high.
As lead author Juroen Nawijn, tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, says: “Since most of the happiness boost comes from planning and anticipating a vacation, the study suggests that people may get more out of several small trips a year than one big vacation.”
Therefore, we can assume that always having a holiday on the horizon will increase our chances of staying happy.
The study didn’t find any relationship between the length of the holiday and overall happiness, so taking a short trip over a long weekend, for example, is still conducive to feeling good.
“The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip,” Nawijn added. “What you can do is try to increase that by taking more trips per year. If you have a two-week holiday, you can split it up and have two one-week holidays. You could try to increase the anticipation effect by talking about it more and maybe discussing it online.”
H/T NY Times
(Lead image: Ian Schneider / Unsplash)