“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
Very often, we go through the motions of everyday life without giving a thought to the quality of our experiences. The thought of taking a long, rejuvenating break comes to mind, but instead, we settle for a quick coffee break and get back to work. Though we may feel conscientious when we put off that holiday, read ahead and you might reconsider your decision:
Moving up the career ladder can improve well-being, but only up to a point
In the 1970s, Richard Easterling studied happiness to learn that an increase in pay makes us happy only upto a certain point, after which income levels have no bearing on our happiness. Psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Angus Keaton came to similar conclusions as well. Easterling studies got social scientists thinking, and they found that you get more satisfaction when engaging in experiences like travelling, cultural and social activities like art/ food fairs, outdoor activities, or even learning a new skill.
Travelling or learning a new skill can open up your mind
Experts, researchers, and travel buffs agree that travel is food for the mind. It exposes you to new places, people, and cultures. It opens up your mind, improves creativity and empathy too. Besides, a travel break can reduce the stress from daily life and help you reinvent yourself. Even learning a new hobby or a new language is a great idea. It helps rewire the brain, reduce stress, and improve overall mental wellbeing. Sounds like something you want?
Shared experiences can improve bonding
When it comes to making new friends, Psychologist Thomas Gilovich, Cornell University, suggests that a shared experience can go a long way. Because it creates feelings of camaraderie. You’re more likely to reminisce about that family trip to Jaipur or those ghazal nights with friends than to talk about your new furniture. Write psychologists Cooney, Gilbert and Wilson that people adapt to nonsocial pleasures like solo trips or buying their favourite things, but the appeal of social pleasures is stronger.
Taking time off can aid your professional growth
Engaging in sports or group hobbies is a great way to create social networks that last well into later life. Besides being good for your health, these social bonds can also help you make valuable professional contacts. You’ll always find the golfing group or football buddies helping someone from the pack, even if they are not the best of friends. Picking up a new skill can also improve your employability and earning potential.
So, if fulfilling your travel goals or taking up those hobby classes help you become a better, happier, and healthier person, they are worth the time investment. In fact, according to the 2017 Vacation Deprivation study by online travel agency Expedia, 55% Indians do not take all of the vacation days they get. The reason – work schedules. Taking a break seems unthinkable. But by planning ahead and making conscious choices about what makes you happy, you can travel or spend time on an activity without putting your work commitments or routine on hold.