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Archive for February, 2010

Planning A Vacation?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18th, 2010 by carol – 2 Comments

I read an article today in the New York Times about the question of whether vacations make us happier. It’s a time of year a lot of us are taking time off and/or getting away. Interestingly, the study showed the biggest boost in happiness came from anticipating a holiday. This made me think about the value of visualization for stress relief.

Most therapists have taught or used the tool of visualization in training others to de-stress themselves. This usually involves taking an internal journey to a time or place that created peace in the subject at some point in time,..but it can certainly be a ‘made up’ place, as well. In practicing this skill, you  ask yourself or another person to imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of a relaxing place, engaging all the senses so the brain can feel respite.

When we plan our vacations, I suppose there’s a lot of that, too. We plan the place we will rest, the restaurants we might check out, the sights and sounds, or the many choices of a work-free day at home. We anticipate. And it’s usually those daydreams that keep us moving through the usual grind until that time arrives. The tasks of getting ready make the vacation real before it begins.

So, maybe this gives us some insight into how we can take a mini-vacation or trip to Peaceful even when our schedules only allow us a 20 minute break or a weekend hour. Following our internal bliss to a place that is waiting for us to just notice it, we can experience a different view of our lives. If you aren’t able to take a trip, allow yourself to browse travel websites or read about a faraway place,….or a not-so-faraway place,…and see if your creative potential for imagining increases!

By the way, the article concluded that travelling vacations did not make subjects happier than their non-travelling co-workers,..unless the vacation was described as “relaxing”, in which case, the happiness factor continued 2 weeks beyond the vacation. Those who felt their vacation was neutral or stressful were no more happy, and the remaining fact was that anticipation and planning the vacation was what increased happiness in the group of travellers as a whole.