Getting a Prescription for a Vacation:
Travel, the Undermined Health Practice
By Isaac Christiansen
America is a nation of overworked individuals with a great deal of collective stress. Perhaps this kind of stress is a contributing factor to our nation’s seemingly constant state of tension. A 2015 study found that finances were a source of stress in 64 percent of adults. This stress factor was closely followed by work (60 percent). No wonder, in that same year, 41 percent of American workers did not take one single day of vacation. Even many people who do take vacations do not use of all their vacation days.
The real shame about Americans taking so few vacation days is the fact that going on vacation is recommended by mental health professionals as a healthy-giving and restoring practice. While most people don’t necessarily need scientific evidence to prove that taking a vacation is good for them, scientists have proven that there are many measurable health benefits of traveling. Here is a look at some of the most exciting health benefits you can now consciously enjoy when you take your next vacation.
Relaxation Time Helps the Brain
One of the most challenging things about modern life is that many of us are in a nearly constant state of stimulation. While the abundance of information we have access to has definitely improved our lives in many ways, the constant overstimulation of our brains can be detrimental to our mental and physical health. Taking time off to recharge the batteries is not only relaxing, but it also helps the brain to learn. While you are relaxing, your brain will focus on things it has encountered in the past, analyzing them and gaining fresh insights. If you are particularly stuck on a problem at work, it may just be the ideal time to take a vacation.
Perhaps the most important reason that you should take a vacation is to reduce your stress levels. As science has shown time and again, stress is one of the biggest health issues facing modern society. Stress can make you look older as well as make it easier for you to get sick. If you want to give yourself one of the best gifts possible, go on a vacation where you can lower your stress and boost your health.
Give Your Heart a Break
Everyone knows that stress is bad for the heart, too. In fact, the link between stress and heart attacks was one of the first health problems that modern medicine linked to stress. Too much time and work with too much stress and not enough rest is a recipe for coronary issues. According to this study, men with an elevated risk of coronary disease are 32 percent more likely to die from a heart attack. Another study showed that women who are eight times less likely to suffer from coronary disease if they take two or more vacations a year. If you have a family history of heart disease, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to make sure to take regular vacations to give your heart a break.
Increase Your Happiness
Everyone is searching for the keys to happiness. While there are many doors to happiness unlocked by many keys, one of the easiest doors to go through for happiness is to take a vacation. According to a study that was published in Wisconsin Medical Journal, women who took vacations at least once or twice a year had significantly lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. As you can see, there are many health benefits of going on vacation often. If you want to lower your stress and improve your health, take some time off from work and head off for an adventure. Now is the time to start planning your next vacation. Go for a cruise to Alaska. See Australia. Explore Europe. Go lightweight backpacking. It doesn’t matter what kind of vacation is your particular pleasure. Just get out there and take as many vacations as you can to help make yourself as healthy as possible.