Q: It seems like every year we look forward to a family vacation, but it somehow always falls flat and we come home tired and disappointed. How can we change that this year?
A: Researchers in the Netherlands recently set out to measure the effect of vacations on someone’s overall happiness. They also wanted to figure out how long the feeling of euphoria lasted. Believe it or not, the largest surge in happiness occurred before the person even left on vacation. In other words, most of us enjoy looking forward to the trip more than actually taking it. Anticipation is often better than realisation.
Interestingly enough, there was one caveat within the study we mentioned. If people really and truly relaxed while on vacation, they were just as happy before, during and after the trip.
What’s the lesson? You’ve heard the line in sports: go big or go home. When it comes to taking a vacation, you might try the same logic. Actually “vacate” — don’t try to go on vacation and still work, too. Build plenty of margin into your time away and don’t over-schedule. Leave some down time and room for spontaneity, and you’ll probably be more “up” when you get home.
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