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News Flash: Vacations Make You Happier


Photo: Marilyn Acosta

A recent study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reveals that people who take vacations feel…wait for it…happier, healthier and less stressed.

No kidding.

The fact that 93 per cent of respondents would report feeling happier after a vacation seems so obvious that we’re seriously curious about where those 7 per cent who don’t feel happier post-holiday are taking their vacations—Molvanîa?

People surveyed also felt overwhelmingly that not taking a vacation puts their well being at risk. So much so that 56 per cent believe their doctor should be able to prescribe a vacation for them.

The truth about happiness and vacations, however, may not be so obvious. A two-year-old study reported in the New York Times suggests that people may be happier before their vacation than after, due to the anticipation factor.

Though the Las Vegas poll surveyed Americans exclusively, Canadians may be more vacation-deprived than their American neighbours: Canada has the fewest government-mandated holidays per year in the world at 19. (About 25 days are typical in the United States though there’s no required minimum.) Recent studies like this one commissioned by Expedia have also found that Canadians don’t use all their vacation days. Granted, we leave only an average of one day unused (as opposed to the Japanese, who leave about half of their 11 days unused—a national crisis!), but at the very least that one day could provide the proven health benefits of a vacation from e-mail.

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