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Studies on Vacation Time and Happiness

Vacation Happiness: It's All in the Planning

Despite the fact that we'll spend about $76 billion on vacation this year, it's not even the relaxation of the vacation itself that will leave us feeling happy and satisfied. That's right. According to new research, the effects of being on vacation don't last long. While participants reported being happier following their vacations, "just one week after returning to work, their self-reported measures of wellness had returned to pre-vacation levels." Essentially, the benefits of taking a vacation are definitely real, but unfortunately not too lasting.

Another study, however, revealed that the benefits of taking a vacation may be felt more before the trip, rather than after. You might think that all of that lying out in the sun, hotel room service, and time off from work would be more likely to have you in better spirits than day dreaming about your vacay in the days leading up to it. But this study actually indicates a "marked increase in the self-reported happiness of vacationers in the weeks leading up to their trips." Basically the anticipation of a well-deserved vacation may actually have a greater mood-lifting effect. The lesson being — plan your trips earlier and start looking forward to a break now.

What do you make of the studies — are you in a better mood pre or post-vacation? Tell us about it in comments!


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