“The direct positive effect of vacationing does not last very long,” says Jeroen Nawijn, an author of a study on vacationing and happiness. “People have to catch up. Usually there is a big pile of work for them when they get back from the holiday.”

Nawijn’s research, published in February in the Applied Research in Quality of Life journal, showed that vacations affect our happiness levels, but perhaps not in the ways we usually think of them.

Nawijn and his team followed 1,530 Dutch adults (974 of whom took a vacation during the 32-week study period), measuring their happiness levels before, during and after their vacations. The results: People got the biggest boost from the time before their vacation — an eight-week positive mood increase — which quickly dissipated after the vacation ended.

  1. SparkyOne says:

    I would love to go back to work. It’s almost been two FN years!

  2. Eric says:

    The buried lead here is that the 8 weeks before a vacation is actually better than the vacation itself. No surprise to me, I find most people try to cram too much into a vacation instead of picking a destination then looking around for something to do. Also, there’s all the standing in line.

  3. tomdennis says:

    Being free with pay is best as in retired or wealthy.
    My attitude stays the same year-round and that is nice.

  4. lynn says:

    I find that the more time I take off, the more time I want off. Luckily for me, I don’t get much time off. I’m envying the sharpei in the picture.

  5. bobbo, libertarianism fails when it becomes Dogma says:

    Well, “happiness” (however it is defined” is one measure of the benefit of vacations. How about “satisfaction” or “openness to new ideas” or “understanding there is a world out there beyond the work place.”

    Many good and personally fulfilling reasons not to be chained to the workplace.

    Being a Zombie Drone is not the highest purpose of life.

  6. GetSmart says:

    What is this “vacation” of which you speak?


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