Where you choose to vacation can say a lot about your personality, your likes, and you dislikes. In the Journal of Research in Personality a psychological study from the University of Virginia showed that introverts tend to favor the mountains, and extroverts tend to favor the beach. It goes without saying that the mountains offer more solitude, while the crowded beach holds plenty of potential for social interaction.
The amount of research available about vacations may surprise you. For instance, depending on the nature of the vacation, the planning process can actually bring more happiness than the actual vacation itself. Research cited by the Harvard Business Review shows that for those who jam-pack their vacations with activities, keeping their itineraries handy at all times, vacation is a stressful time. The planning serves as their stress reliever. But, for those who take a more carefree approach to vacation with minimal planning, the vacation is a happy, relaxing time.
The common phrase “Americans live to work and Europeans work to live,” directly relates to the number of vacations we take. The average American private sector worker receives 16 days of paid vacation, with Italians receiving 31, Spaniards receiving 35, and the Portuguese receiving 36. Most Europeans consistently take a vacation each year, and their vacation or “holiday” periods are much longer than the average American vacation.
The amount of vacation time you take from work, also speaks to your professional success. American workers who did not use any of their vacation days proved to be less successful professionally. This could be for any number of reasons. Perhaps, vacationless employees are overstressed and therefore perform more poorly than their refreshed peers who utilize vacation time.
Vacation doesn’t only affect the adults who are planning and paying for vacations; our children are affected, too. The always cherished summer vacation may actually be doing more harm than good for most kids, who are said to lose a month of academic progress over the three-month break.
It may not be possible to adapt the European attitude toward vacation, but it is important to take time out of your busy American life to physically and mentally unwind. No matter what your vacation preferences say about you, remember to vacation the way that makes you happiest.
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