Thursday, July 18, 2024
featured storyHEALTHTOURISM

Several studies found that vacations benefit brain and overall health

Vacations 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 your regular activities is essential to your well-being, experts say.

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

During vacations, the brain releases serotonin, moreover, serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, and sleep, as well as soothing brains with calmness, it’s also present during vacations, a 2001 study published by Springer Nature showed.

Vacations can spark creativity

Another amazing benefit of vacations for the brain is that they can spark creativity, according to neuro-plastician Dr. Justin James Kennedy.

“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.

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 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.

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’…

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 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.

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?

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.

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 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.

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.


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