happiness

How Upcoming Vacations Make You Happier

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This made me smile: a story in the NYT‘s travel section about how planning vacations makes you happier.

Sure, that’s pretty much stating the obvious. I’ve posted about how deciding to a trip boosted my mood when I was going through a difficult time, and how I usually beat my post-vacation blues by booking another trip. And I’d think that most people would agree that they just feel better when they have a getaway coming up.

But I’m all for anything that spreads the word of how travel is good for you!

According to the NYT piece, anticipating a trip makes you happier due to a number of reasons. (All are well-rooted in happiness psychology.):

  • Researching a destination can get you excited about what you’ll see/do/experience, as well as provide you with positive images to recall anytime you think about your trip.
  • By researching, you’re also learning lots of interesting, new things—thus shaking up your boring day-to-day routine.
  • Most people also talk about their upcoming trips with friends or family—the act of being social is a happiness booster, as is talking about experiences.

I like toВ refer to upcoming trips as “carrots”—like a carrot dangling in front of a horse to get him to move. Quick getaways are “baby carrots” and long trips are “big-ass carrots.” They’re the incentives that energize me anytime I think of them,В simply by making my life feel richer and more exciting.

(Image by A Well Traveled Woman, via Bippity Boppity Boo)

A Moment to Breathe

Big Corn Island, Nicaragua

Has this month been insane for you? I feel like March is speeding by faster than I can process it! On one hand, I’m thrilled—adiosВ Long Slog! But on the other, I feel like I’ve been going non-stop for several weeks—which, if I’m not careful, could lead to a little burnout. (In the past few days, alone, I’ve had super-late ballet rehearsals and flew to and from Orlando in one day for work meetings. Hence, the lack of recent posts!)

Throughout all the craziness, I’ve been reminding myself to take a few moments to slow down and breathe. I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to do so is to literally take a mental vacation. As in, recalling a moment from a specific trip when I felt completely wonderful and at ease. I usually envision my favorite beaches—those that are wild and green with lots of palm trees, clear water and brilliant, sunny skies. Often, I think about being on Big Corn Island, Nicaragua (pictured above), with my sister, or the southeastern part of Hawaii’s Big Island. Just thinking about those places makes me feel as relaxed and happy as when I was actually there. I can almost feel the warmth of the sunshine and hear waves crashing and wind rustling the palm fronds.

Happy Friday! Hope you have a chillaxin’ weekend. 😉