Spoiler alert: because it makes us happy!
Most people think that spending your money on a physical object will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a holiday or a concert. According to Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades, this theory is completely wrong. "One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” Take your new iPhone for instance: the moment you buy it: instant happiness! The first days you used it: special feeling! But after a while, you get used to it. It fades to the background and it becomes part of the new normal. The satisfaction goes down. Because it’s always there. But it’s different with travelling, says Dr Gilovich. “Experiences like travelling or going to a concert, are a lot of the time once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They become an ingrained part of our identity, and they are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff, and think part of your identity is connected to them, but they remain separate from you. Whereas your experiences really are part of you.”
So we all agree and now science has proved it: we should travel more. Because it makes us happy. But that’s not the only thing it does. There are at least six more reasons why we should mark that holiday in our calendar and start counting the days to get away and see the world:
1. Travelling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life
When you’re not in your normal surroundings, you get to forget your daily problems and it helps you to put everything in perspective. The stress fades together with the crazy schedules we all have in our regular lives. And when you come home, you feel invigorated and happy to be back in your daily routine. Travelling is by far the best stress remover. We just don’t always realize it.
2. You meet new people and improve your social skills
When travelling, you meet different people from different places. Not only is it fun to meet new people, it also makes you interact and communicate, something that is crucial in our daily life. Travelling and interacting with a variety of people can help build or improve social skills with very little effort.
3. You get to know new cultures
Different cultures exist everywhere. Some places have more modern cultures while others have traditional beliefs and customs. Experiencing different cultures can also be enlightening and educational; learning about other’s lives and customs teaches us respect and frees our mind.
4. You detox from social media
Yes, we all love our social media. But it’s not always healthy. We all need a break once in a while. In today’s world with Wi-Fi being omnipresent, we’re all constantly connected. There’s only so much information we can deal with every day. So if you’re in an amazing place, you don’t want to be online checking your Facebook or tweeting about the weather. No, you need to be out there and enjoy every minute of it. So turn it off. Even better: find a hotel without Wi-Fi so you don’t have a choice. You will see that it’s liberating and allows you to better enjoy the “here and now”.
5. You get an overdose of happiness
Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin in our brain. The serotonin hormone is the hormone that makes us feel happy, calm and focused. Sunshine and warmth put us in a much better mood in general, so a beach break is the best way to relax and enjoy the health benefits of a warm and sunny climate. And let’s be honest: a healthy glow makes us feel a lot better, and it even lasts some weeks after the trip.
6. You get “me time” and time with your loved ones
In the hectic lives that we live, we tend to forget ourselves and the people around us – simply because we don’t make time. Travelling gives us breathing space, makes us let go of stress and enjoy every single moment. You finally get some much needed quality time together, while recharging your batteries. A holiday can really be a boost for your relationship and the connection with your kids.
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