What better news for Good News Sunday than how to be happy? Recent quality of life research reported in The New York Times, reports that it's not the vacation that makes you happy, but the planning. While maybe not earth-shattering, this is good news if you have neither the time nor resources to go on vacation. The happiness boosting effects of vacation planning lasted for up to eight weeks. In a surprising contrast, most people who took vacations ended up no happier after taking them, and if they did, the effect was short lived, up to two weeks.
The study authors surveyed more than 1500 adults in the Netherlands with pre- and post-vacation surveys. Those who reported increased levels of happiness after a trip did so if they had a "very relaxing" trip. Those whose trips were self-reported as "relaxing," "neutral" or "stressful" did not become happy from their trip. The reasons for this, as proposed by the study authors, include stress on the trip or the stress of returning to work.
The study authors suggested making the most out of the happiness boosting effects of trip planning by taking a few short trips a year instead of one longer trip, so that you can plan more frequently. They also suggested talking about the trip plans or discussing them online... perhaps blogging?
So let's hear about the trips you are planning, either in reality or in your wildest fantasies. It may be good for you.
© Linda Shiue, 2010