Whether you’ve just got back from an unforgettable fortnight in Cyprus or are planning a grand winter break in Cuba, the verdict is in. Holidays abroad have been scientifically proven to boost your well-being, immune system and overall quality of life, with effects that last even a month or so after the trip.
Flying back to happiness
Once the nitty-gritty details of the flight, hotel and time off work are all sorted, you’re free to enjoy a sensational trip somewhere hot and far from home. You might think it’s just a temporary way to shake off some stress and strife, and you’re partly right… yet leading research from top brains at Harvard, the University of California and more are in agreement that a trip away does wonders for your sense of inner peace, quality of life and positive outlook, as was recently reported by The Telegraph.
Such changes have the potential to benefit us physically as much as psychologically. Time spent in foreign countries bolsters our immune system down to the genetic level, according to the experts, while changing the way the body processes certain proteins that can cause the internal imbalances that trigger depression and dementia.
Relaxing under the sun
The good news is, it really doesn’t matter where you choose to go. A jaunt in Spain is no more or less beneficial than a few days in Turkey. Instead, good vibes come from the activity of changing our environment, so you can rest assured there’s no one destination better than the other. It’s all just a question of personal preference.
Following our return from holiday, the little things in life trouble us less, and we’re less likely to fly off the handle at frustrations that crop up day to day. That’s because, as the research shows, the way we view the world is changed by our rejuvenating time in the sunshine, which means that our stress reactors take a back seat after our trip.
You might think that only comes into play for about a week or so once we’re home, but it’s actually far more generous than that. For up to a month after we go away, those same changes to how our thoughts flow, how our bodies defend us against germs and illness, and the way in which we beat stress before it even has the chance to grind us down all gets supercharged. We come back revitalised, refreshed and ready to take on the world in a whole new way.
What’s the secret?
The research that was carried out aimed to see if the post-holiday high that we feel is the same as the sense of inner peace felt by those who practice frequent meditation. While nothing’s clear on that right now, as research continues, two things are definitely pretty clear.
Firstly, holidays are conclusively proven as a way to combat poor health, a low state of mind or any other form of burnout or fatigue. Think of it as a way to refresh your mind, body and soul. Secondly, holidays that take in a spiritual element, from meditative courses to spa retreats to quiet time in the countryside, amp up our immune systems and psychological well-being all the more once we come home.
This study isn’t the first to link a good holiday with a feel-good factor, but it’s the first that’s definitively shown us just how profound and long-lasting those changes are, as well as the sublime alterations they make to us, right down to our genetics. It’s pretty powerful stuff, but don’t worry too much about the details. Just make sure you’re you’re ready to refresh once you take your next trip.
Where will you be going next, and how will you feel once you’re there?