How vacations benefit our brain and overall health



Vacations are essential for our well-beingVacations are essential for our well-being
Vacations aren’t frivolous, they can be very healthy, several studies have found. Just like exercising or having a balanced diet, taking time off our regular activities is essential to our well-being, experts say.


Planning vacations = healthy brain functionPlanning vacations = healthy brain function
In a 2022 study published in ‘Tourism Management’, researchers found a link between elements of travel, like planning and anticipating, and healthy brain function.


Thinking about vacations releases dopamineThinking about vacations releases dopamine

The mere thought of vacation can ignite the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter dopamine, which fuels our reward-motivated behavior, the study found.


During vacations, the brain releases serotoninDuring vacations, the brain releases serotonin
Moreover, serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, and sleep, as well as soothing our brains with calmness, it’s also present during vacations, a 2001 study published by Springer Nature showed.
Vacations can spark creativityVacations can spark creativity
Another amazing benefit of vacations for the brain is that they can spark creativity, according to neuroplastician Dr. Justin James Kennedy.
Our brains crave new experiencesOur brains crave new experiences
“Our brains, ever thirsting for fresh experiences, are ignited by the spark of novelty, which trigger dopamine’s euphoric release, fueling our imagination and beckoning us to think beyond the confines of the ordinary”, writes James Kennedy for Psychology Today.


Culture shock can have an opposite effect thoughCulture shock can have an opposite effect though
However, other studies show that immersion in a different culture with some familiar facets are the way to go, as a completely different culture to one’s own can result in culture shock that can lead to stressful feelings of disconnect.


Avoid stressors if you want your vacation to be beneficialAvoid stressors if you want your vacation to be beneficial
In the same way, certain experts warn that, when planning a vacation with the objective of relaxing, you have to be mindful about avoiding certain stressors that might come up.


Think about ‘what’ rather than ‘where’Think about ‘what’ rather than ‘where’
In these sense, some experts advice that rather than concentrating on the destination, the traveler should think about the circumstances. Or, in other words, think about ‘what’ rather than ‘where’…


A relaxing vacation can look different for different peopleA relaxing vacation can look different for different people
But stress-free vacations can look different for everybody, of course. If you’re afraid of flying, then it would be best to plan a road trip, boat trip or train travel, for example. The main objective is to be able to relax and disconnect as much as possible, experts say.


Don’t leave pending stuff at workDon’t leave pending stuff at work
Another thing to take into account, is to leave your affairs at work under control, as knowing that a huge workload awaits you when you return, can result in stress rather than rest, according to a Leisure Sciences 2002 study.


Done well, vacations can boost productivityDone well, vacations can boost productivity
Said study also found restful vacations can buffer post-vacation work stress. So the best thing to do is to be able to completely disconnect from work, as that can also boost productivity, according to other studies.


Where to go on vacation?Where to go on vacation?

As previously explained, sometimes relaxation looks different for everyone for several reasons, but a safe bet would be to head to the sea or somewhere with water, according to Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols.


The benefits of vacationing near a body of waterThe benefits of vacationing near a body of water
In a recent study, Nichols shared the benefits of vacationing near a body of water, saying that it triggers our “blue mind” which is a state of “calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.”


A mental vacationA mental vacation

A lake or ocean landscape provides a simplified visual and auditory experience, compared to a city street or room, which functions as a mental vacation, according to the marine biologist.


Feelings of unity and emotional opennessFeelings of unity and emotional openness
Moreover, the physical activity of swimming with others can lead to feelings of unity and emotional openness, as well as an increase in our energy, the study found.
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More