For many people, one of the things that gives them the most happiness in life is traveling. Some doctors, recognizing how much happiness people derive from traveling, are even considering prescribing traveling as a treatment for depression! Why does traveling make so many people happy? What differentiates traveling from other activities that give people pleasure, such as buying new possessions? The answer lies in the long term effects of traveling.
Comparing traveling with buying new possessions helps clue us in to several reasons why traveling makes us happy. Buying a shiny new gadget like an iPhone or Wii is very exciting, but after a few weeks the thrill fades away until the once glorious purchase is now just an everyday item. When you travel, however, you’re not buying another thing to put on your shelf – you’re gaining new memories. These happy memories have a much longer lifespan than the thrill of a new toy. If your new purchase becomes damaged or gets lost, that’s the end of that, but good memories will last you a lifetime.
In addition, traveling helps bring people together. If you’re gone on a trip with a close friend or family member, your memories of the trip will make you feel closer to that person. Sitting on a new couch together with that person just isn’t the same. The experiences you went through during your travels also leave you with a being alive. Recalling a great memory gives you a positive rush that a new piece of art simply can’t match.
Traveling also offers a break from our everyday lives. Buying something is fun, but it doesn’t really break up the monotony of your life like getting into a car or on a plane and going somewhere else. Traveling allows you to physically remove yourself from your problems, which hopefully will help you mentally distance yourself from them as well.
One great thing about traveling is that it isn’t just the actual vacation itself that makes people happy. If you’ve planned your trip several months in advance, the fact that you have something to look forward to makes people happier. If your day sucks, you can count the weeks left until your vacation. If you’re feeling blue, you can lift yourself out of the cloud by planning out your what you’re going to do while traveling, make arrangements or do research.
The above mentioned conclusions aren’t just common sense – some scientists, noting the link between happiness and traveling actually put together a paper on the subject entitled “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right.” In this paper they discuss the idea of memories creating more happiness than buying material objects. So the next time someone asks you why you’re spending money to go on an expensive vacation, explain that you’re making a long term happiness investment supported by science.
This guest post was provided by Ryan Embly from the website Car Rental Express (CRX). If you're looking for discount car rentals visit CRX today.
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