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Study Finds Which Stage Of Vacation Gives The Largest Boost Of Happiness

Study Finds Which Stage Of Vacation Gives The Largest Boost Of Happiness

Recall the last time you went on a holiday, or perhaps the last time you planned for a holiday. Was it a long time between breaks? Did you suddenly begin to imagine all of the possibilities that lay before you, instead of thinking about the day to day grind of work? Did you imagine all of the places you might be able to see in the world, excited by which one you might pick?

Well, studies have shown that this is very normal. When we ready ourselves for a vacation, we anticipate possibility and are filled with excitement. We are imagining what we are about to experience, and we are filled with the eagerness of what is about to come. We are suddenly filled with the happiness of what just might be, not the holiday, but still the best part of a “life vacation”.

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The Idea of Happiness

Do we fully appreciate vacations while experiencing them? Yes, probably. But can we say that this is the absolute best part of the trip away? And do they necessarily make us happier?
‘Happiness’, achieved through vacation, is a desire to vacate the life we have made for ourselves ad rarely break from. So when we are faced with the option of change, our happiness soars. And while there are a plethora of psychological factors at play that determine our happiness, studies have shown that when satiate our personal needs of newness – and step up from a stable existence to a sudden fresh and exciting one – our levels of happiness soar momentarily. We are suddenly faced with a fresh idea of happiness, and our bodies and minds are preparing for it.

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Vacation Anticipation

The simple act of planning a vacation is actually where our happiness peaks. Which airline will we fly with? What movies will they show? Where will we stop over? Should we choose an exotic island destination? Or a fun city? Will we go somewhere romantic, like Paris, because we’ve never been there in Summer? OR should we vacation somewhere private, tropical, and beautiful, maybe Fiji? (AND WHAT WILL WE WEAR?)

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According to a study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, we are most excited and happy when awaiting, or planning for, our holiday. This is the time period of possibility, and this state of anticipation and happiness is said to last up to eight weeks.

But Does It Last?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Further research indicated that when participating in their holiday, happiness levels were either less or dropped slightly. What’s more, when the travelers returned from their holiday, they were no happier than before they left for vacation. Studies show that the activities partaken whilst on holiday did influence the happiness levels during and after the vacation, but essentially there was still no increase in happiness when returning from their holiday. Even holiday-goers who admitted to relaxation on their trips did not have increased happiness levels upon their return to everyday life. In fact the only people who benefited from residual feelings of happiness were those who experienced very high levels of relaxation and stress-free activities while holidaying. Their happiness levels were somewhat higher than others afterward, although it indicated that this level returned to pre-holiday range after two weeks time.

In conclusion, what the research shows is that we acclimatize to our surroundings. Also, that anticipation of an exciting experience is the happiest period of the entire process. Leading up to a birthday, or a performance, or a date – or a holiday – can be even more exciting than the experience itself . This is not to say you won’t have a good time. It is also not to say that there isn’t a point to having such experiences if they aren’t necessarily going to make us happy. It does show, however, that we should enjoy the entire process, and relish in the lead up to an experience just as much as the experience itself – and enjoy the full road of happiness.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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