If you can't take a vacation, research says you should do this to feel less stressed
These days, it seems like everyone is stressed out of their minds—and with good reason. The realities of climate change, stagnant wages, the high cost of housing, and the struggle to find a good work-life balance are enough to make anyone want to get away from it all. But managing your stress might be simpler than you think. A new study found that meditation has similar benefits to taking a vacation.
The study, published in April in The Journal of Positive Psychology, examined the effects of both meditation and vacation on participants’ well-being and mindfulness. To reach their conclusions, researchers asked 40 psychology students at a university in the Netherlands to answer daily questions about their mental and emotional states over the course of eight weeks. For four weeks of the study, they meditated for 15 minutes a day. For about 7% of the study, they were on vacation (taking extended time off from work and school). They neither meditated nor were on vacation for about 50% of the study time.
The results? Participants reported positive effects from both vacation and meditation.
Overall, respondents said they were doing better on days when they either meditated or were on vacation. Both activities were also associated with greater positive emotions. That said, taking time off still had a greater positive effect for participants. But these results show that if you can’t get away, taking time to meditate can help you calm down.
Well, there you have it. If you’re one of the many Americans who feel like they can’t use all of their vacation time, there are at least some ways to alleviate your stress. The next time you’re panicking about work or the fate of the world, give meditation a try.