Special Report

12 Reasons Why You Should Take a Vacation for Your Health

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6. Sense of well-being

Regular vacations make a difference in someone’s overall feeling of well-being, according to Gallup. People who always make time for regular trips scored 68.4 on the Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index, and less-frequent travelers scored 51.4 for. Gallup’s Well-Being Index measures Americans’ perceptions of their lives and daily experiences through interrelated conditions that includes physical health.

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7. Decrease depression

According to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Body-Mind Center leisure time, such as vacation, can contribute to a more positive mind-set and lower clinical depression levels. A separate study by Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic found that depression was two to three times more likely in women who didn’t take vacations regularly, compared with those who did. The change of pace and opportunity to relax and recharge can lift spirits and attitudes. Vacations also offer the chance to explore creativity and self-expression, and experience a sense of control that’s often lacking in our overscheduled daily life.

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8. Get happy

Vacation-related happiness can begin before you leave the office, according to a study reported on in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life. Even planning to get out of town boosts moods for weeks before you clock out of the office and get on your way. That glow is good for you: There’s scientific evidence suggesting that positive emotions can contribute to a longer and healthier life. Consider a relaxing getaway if you want the buzz to continue after you get back as only very relaxed trips continue to boost happiness once you return.

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9. Strengthen relationships

Research indicates that strong social ties can contribute to overall health. People who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. Whether your vacations are relaxing or more adventurous, it’s likely you’ll find a chance to build or boost bonds with family and friends, whether you’re lolling on the beach together, presiding over the grill, struggling to pitch the tent you haven’t used since high school, or bickering about the rules of pinochle or team sports. The pleasures — and minor aggravations — of spending free time in compatible company delivers a healthy buzz on multiple levels.

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10. Improved sleep

Vacation is a great time to catch up on your rest, so enjoy it while it lasts. A small study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies indicated that sleep can improve while on vacation, especially on lengthy leisure trips. In most cases in the study, the upswing in snoozing didn’t last long, with shuteye time returning to normal within a week back on the job. However, the researchers noted, “Vacation experiences, especially pleasure, relaxation, savoring and control, seem to be especially important for the strength and persistence of vacation (after-) effects.”

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