Maximize Vacations To Make Your Mind & Body Happy:
So we’ve been told at least once or twice, that Happiness equals Healthiness.
And in much the same way that our bodies need good Sleep for good health,
There is new work that shows we need a type of rest you just don’t get on the Weekends.
Believe it or not, our bodies actually do need Vacations.
And on that note, The Science Of Us pulled a lot together to help us with our Summers, so we can get maximum enjoyment as we also recharge for better health…
Preparation Helps Avoid The Shopaholic Addiction:
So, one of the problems that can occur around vacation-time that may hurt your psychology & possibly your body is poor-execution that leads to almost a state of disappointment on your return.
And several studies have shown that for some people, they have exactly the same happiness-level when they return as when they left.
In a way, it’s similar to a shopping addiction, where the action only provides a temporary-benefit and forces people to get back on “The Hedonic Treadmill” to get their next “fix”.
Social media works a lot like this, too.
So to turn that problem inside out, happiness-researchers all contribute to the information gathered by The Science of Us.
And here are their recommendations:
1) Plan The Vacation FAR In-Advance:
It turns out that people don’t just get pleasure from Actually being on the vacation.
They also get pleasure and excitement from the research, filtering, decision-making, and above-all
ANTICIPATION of the event.
Just the way your grandma’s advice to work & save-up for something you wanted when you were younger was perfect.
If you spend all summer mowing lawns, you’ve given yourself a huge anticipation and effort-test to see if you really desperately want that thing you’re going to buy.
And if you’re still sure about it after 6 months, it will definitely be a good purchase.
The exact same is true of Vacations.
2) Next, The Beginning And The End Make The Biggest Impact.
Another set of studies shows that the first few things you do on vacation are the most striking and memorable.
The next biggest impression is then created by the events at the End of the vacation.
Strangely-enough, the research says that the middle is not exactly that memorable or change-inducing as the other 2.
So, if there is any way to Heighten Both of those points, to start out with something big, and also End On A High Note,
The effects will also be more lasting.
3) Maximize Vacation Benefits With The Paradox Of Potatoes (Couch Variety):
One of the strangest research results tells us that people who do a whole lot of nothing on their vacations have some of the best results.
They also have some of the longest-lasting ones, and some of the most improved health-outcomes.
Now since most of this is self-reported, it’s hard to tell for-sure & who is experiencing what change, but perhaps people who do almost nothing on vacation are the type of people who are absolutely-harried in their everyday-lives.
So there is the potential that these sets of people are also experiencing the greatest health & body recuperative-effects that we introduced earlier.
Maybe when you’re so far detached from all pressures, and you “do nothing”, it’s actually a mild form of even Meditation?
And that brings us to the Fourth point TSOU makes.
4) Find A Way To “Meditate” About Your Vacation:
-And the significance of every part of it, AFTER it’s over.
Remember every thing you did and go over and over how special it was in every possible way.
Because there is still more research that says this will increase your happiness after the fact for a greater length of time than if you just BAM, jump right into the rush of your normal life right away.
And this is going to sound nutty, but hear me out.
In engineering and construction there are things called “Tolerances” and “Transitions”, ie: Spaces between tightly-fitting parts, and Gradual Changes from one level to another.
Idea 1: Also Plan & Schedule After-Vacation Memory Time:
Just as you should set aside time to research, plan, & schedule your vacation far in-advance,
Maybe you should plan some time right after the end to put together a collection of memories in exactly the right way,
This way you can nail-down all the highlights in your mind while they’re still fresh in your mind.
Yes, it sounds crazy to cut the vacation 2 or more days short.
But if you do, and use the time to make a collection of everything from it, you just might get those lasting effects the researchers talked about.
Idea 2: You Are Physical, So Don’t Make Everything Digital:
So on that note, another nutty and impractical suggestion.
Before the advent of Digital Photography, people used to do all kinds of silly things to remember their trips,
Including the purchase, & collection of PHYSICAL ITEMS.
People would take special souvenirs, get silly trinkets, send a colorful paper equivalent of a Tweet, once referred to as a “Post Card” with a photo of the approximate location, either back to themselves, and/or to friends & family.
So here’s the idea: In order to maximize your trip-happiness, Perhaps Not Everything Can Be Digital after-all.
Idea 3: Be Old-Fashioned & Make A ScrapBook:
Another thing Ye Olde-Tymie people used to do was to take many physical items to a central location,
And create multimedia “Scrap-Books” with physical copies of photos, post-cards, and small trinkets, all put-together charmingly in one-place.
This art-project would then be set-aside for later,
So at any time, a person could use it like a time-machine and go back to relive the memories they made of something they found really significant about Life in that one small spot and time.
-Just like the researchers recommend.
And although it was filed-away, it was probably more accessible and special than being stuffed somewhere among millions of nameless files on a computer hard-drive.
You might just be glad you did it.
And I’m going to make another guess for the next study they do:
Scrap-bookers are the happiest & healthiest of all vacationers out there.
5) Final Point, The Stealthy Unhealthy Of Comparison:
One of the other main problems was hinted at in the earliest batch of research used for the video.
Happiness is more reliable when coming from Experiences instead of Things.
-Because Experiences are personal, subjective, and cannot truly be compared to someone else’s.
And psychologists tell us social media makes us miserable right after it makes us dopamine addicts,
Because of a millenia-old psych problem: Comparing ourselves to an unrealistic ideal.
Make (Sure That You Make) Life Special:
If you do all of the steps outlined in this post,
Especially the last one about firming-up your own little multimedia summary of the awesome & the special,
It’s so unique & intimately-you, that it becomes something that nobody else (including your own mind’s bad instincts) can take away from you,
-Something special. And reminding yourself of that is one of the healthiest things you can do.
Maximizing all the health-benefits of vacation-time is great, and maybe it can remind us to maximize the value of All our time…
JUMP BONUS!: Maybe You’ll Find Something The Way Walter Mitty Did…:
Video 1 by, New York Magazine, The Science of Us and Fly Machine Pictures
Photo, “Natal10”, by Leo Macedo
Video 2 by, Ben Stiller, Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., John Goldwyn, Stuart Cornfeld, Steve Conrad, James Thurber, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Red Hour Productions, New Line Cinema, TSG Entertainment, and 20th Century Fox
• Source: YT-TheScienceOfUs-How To Be Happy On Vacations
• More Coverage: NyMag
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