Plan for happy holidays

HolidaysIt’s that time of year when everyone is either on holiday, just back from holiday or planning to go on holiday.  Cue lots of pics of the sun shining through palm trees, or a tanned hand holding a delightfully garish cocktail, against a backdrop of beach.  Lovely!

But did you know that most of your happiness actually comes from the planning and anticipation of holidays, and that after the holiday itself it falls back fairly quickly?  Nope, neither did I, until I came across some interesting research from the Netherlands which looked at how holidays affect our happiness.

What they found was that the largest increase in our happiness comes from the initial planning and anticipation of holidays.  The study showed that this effect lasted almost two months.  Once you get back from your holiday though, this happiness level drops right back down to the same level as someone who hasn’t been away.

So how does this help you increase your happiness?  Well, you could try to split your holiday time up a bit.  So instead of taking a couple of holidays lasting two weeks each, you could break it up a bit more.  Take a week or ten days at a time instead.  That way you’re getting at least one extra holiday per year, which gives you another two months of increased happiness levels as you plan and ponder your extra break.

Happy holidays!

(and here’s the link to the original research paper, if you’re interested – http://www.springerlink.com/content/233331654742r175/ )

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