Travel makes people happy & live longer - Australian research

Update:26 Jul 2010
It's the excuse we all needed to indulge in that well-earned break - scientists say holidays can help us live longer.

A new study has linked travel with increased happiness and better health suggesting trips could even be prescribed in the future as a way to beat depression.

The Australian research identified how travel can affect three different elements of happiness, meaning the joy of a holiday extends well beyond those days spent lazing on the beach and could help prolong our lives.
Doctor's orders: Those longed-for holidays help keep us happy and healthy
Dr Sebastian Filep, an expert in travel and wellbeing at Victoria University, found that motivations for travel, experiences at the destination and the post-holiday reflection all contributed to the pleasure of a jaunt abroad.
The first caused positive emotions in the traveller, the second gave them a sense of purpose and the third a sense of involvement - all key ingredients of happiness.

The in-depth analysis was undertaken with 60 different travellers and a further 200 backpackers for a chapter in a forthcoming book, Tourists, Tourism and the Good Life.
The results conclude that travelling really does make people happier, which improves our health and helps us live longer.

The full process from booking and organising the break to remembering the trip and looking at holiday snaps helps people feel better about their lives.

'I see an opportunity for a greater connection between tourism and health where holidays become a more important factor in leading a healthy lifestyle,' said Dr Filep.

'We know from studies in the US that experiencing positive emotions reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, or that optimists live longer than pessimists.

'So happiness is good for overall physical and mental health and holidays are a good vehicle for experiencing happiness.'

Long-lasting: We even get joy from planning and reminiscing about a trip
Dr Filep even went as far as to say that: 'Holidays may possibly lead to people living longer, as holidays make people happy.'

Although he is not advocating prescribing trips over anti-depressants, he did think they could play a part in the treatment of depression.

'I see holidays as part of the overall treatment for making people happy because we now have research evidence that demonstrates a clear link between holidays and happiness,' he said.

'Happiness is the opposite of depression. If thinking about a holiday, going on a holiday and remembering a holiday plays a role in making people happy, than I certainly think prescribing holidays or travel could help beat depression.'
SOURCE: Daily Mail
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