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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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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