Why vacation is important to our mental Health
Leisure and Travel
By Wambui Mbuthia | Fri,Nov 09 2018 08:30:00 EAT
According to the 1992 Framingham Heart Study, men who don't take vacations are 30% more likely to have heart attack while for women, it goes up to 50%. This study still stands as the major standard for long-term health studies and continues to add emphasis on why you should take a vacation.
Vacation means taking some time off your daily grind or your work to do something different in a different environment in an attempt to unwind. After a vacation, you are bound to have better moods and increased productivity as vacations are known to affect your mental health.
Some of the benefits of taking a vacation for better mental health include;
Due to the unwinding that vacations offer, your mind is able to get rid of the stress hormone cortisol, replacing it with calm. This calm is a conducive situation for your brain to refocus on goal-directed activities. Being in unfamiliar environments, among new people with different habits and cultures prompts you into adapting to a life out of your comfort zone. This makes you more flexible, patient and emotionally strong.
Being at work continuously has for ages been associated with anxiety and levels of stress by many people. This constant anxiety accumulates over time leaving both your body, mind and soul fatigued and may sometimes be chronic. Going on vacation however puts you away from this anxiety and stress related environment to a different luxurious and fun environment. This helps you to get rid of the accumulated stress by freshening you up.
Right from planning to executing, vacations are loaded with a lot of fun that is totally away from routine. Going through different experiences, territories, cultures, foods and all the other stuff that comes with vacation rewires your mind by bringing colour to it. Getting out of your daily routine to go surfing, or mountain climbing or lying by the beach all day is one huge way to bring back a smile on your face.
Being in a new and adventurous environment has been proven to increase your cognitive flexibility which is healthy for your brain. Cognitive flexibility gives you mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. This means after taking a vacation, it becomes easier for you to make decisions related to work or else.
What we do and where we do it hugely defines who we are by giving us character or a personality. Taking a break from normal routines increases your openness to experiences, agreeableness and even emotional stability through the experiences and interactions we have with other holiday makers you meet during your vacation. This is a huge improvement from being a routine cycle repeating person who is not open to meeting and interacting with others, often being gloomy.
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