Author: Campbell, Bruce

The Sweetest Elixir

Rickís column yesterday anticipated my intended theme for my column. I had planned (eagerly anticipated, as a matter of fact) to write a ďcanít wait for Grass Valley!) column. This time of year, thatís whatís on my mind, along with a lot of other folks.

I heard recently about an interesting study to try and understand how long the emotional benefits from vacation linger after the vacation. The study asked thousands of people to rate their level of happiness in the weeks prior to, during and after their vacations. The researchers found that people returned to their baseline happiness level within a week after a vacation, regardless of the duration.

This is not too surprising Ė weíve all felt those effects, You go on a long vacation, and by the third day back at work, youíre ready for the next vacation.

So, does this mean longer vacations are the answer? Nope, according to this study. The research indicated that people happiness levels begin to rise in the weeks PRIOR to the vacation, and actually begin dropping towards baseline during the vacation. In other words, the real benefit of a vacation, the researchers found, is actually the anticipation of the vacation, more than even the vacation itself.

Think about it Ė have you ever pored over brochures to plan a vacation and thrilled to consider the places you could go, how youíre going to get there, and what youíre going to do once you get there? If youíre even a little bit optimistic, itís a pure joy, devoid of risk. You view the exotic vistas, book your travel, plan your accommodations, and while you do this, your heart and mind have already left. The possibilities are endless, and you believe that your planning will ensure that everything happens the way it should, and itís a delicious feeling.

A friend of mine says being at the front of a long line is not nearly as good as being second in line. Because second in line means youíre next. Good things are going to happen Ė your future is bright. As you make plans for a great getaway, whether itís a fortnight in Scotland, or a week in the Nevada County Fairgrounds, you have every reason to believe your future holds the promise of great times, and thatís real, real good for you.

Yeah, Iím looking forward to Fatherís Day, and it makes every day between now and then easier to bear. Work pressures canít touch me Ė in just a few weeks Iím outta there! And it just so happens, this year, two days after Fatherís Day, I leave for a backpacking trip, so the time between now and that third week in June is filled with visions of great sounds, smells and sights, dancing in my head. At work, I sneak visits to Google Earth and CBA on the Web, and itís like taking sips of some magic tonic.

So, my friends, uncork that magic flask and drink deep of the elixir of anticipation. Itís good for you.

Posted:  5/26/2010

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