Does vacationing add to our happiness in the long run?

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Does vacationing add to our happiness in the long run? This question was addressed in a study of 3,650 Dutch citizens who reported their leisure travel every 3 months during 2 years and rated their happiness at the end of each year. Participants who had been on vacation appeared to be marginally happier, in terms of hedonic level of affect, than those who had not. This difference in Affect balance between vacationers and non-vacationers is probably due to a very minor causal effect of vacationing on hedonic level of affect. Possibly, vacationing is positively reminisced and these memories allow for the prevalence of more positive affect in people’s lives. Happiness did not predict vacationing. The effect of holiday trips on vacationers happiness is mostly short-lived; among vacationers, happiness was unrelated to the number of trips and days spent on vacation. A separate analysis of vacationers, who value vacationing most, yielded the same results. Implications for future research are discussed.

Source: “Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits?” from Journal of Happiness Studies (21 September 2010), pp. 1-15-15

Great books on happiness are The Happiness Project and Stumbling on Happiness.

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About Eric Barker