Using a “Vacation Mindset” to Increase Workers’ Happiness

Studies show that taking vacation time has some great benefits, including a positive impact on health, job performance, creativity, and happiness. In spite of this, many American workers fail to use much more than half of their yearly allotted vacation days. In a recent article for the UCLA Anderson Review, author Carla Fried takes a look at a study that sought to examine the impact of having a vacation mindset on American workers.

The Setup
First, researchers asked the approximately 500 participants to rate their happiness level on the Friday leading into the weekend. They then divided the participants into two groups: a control group and a test group. Members of the control group were prompted to treat the upcoming weekend like a regular weekend. Conversely, researchers instructed members of the test group to “think in ways and behave in ways as though you were on vacation.”

Upon returning to work the following Monday, researchers once again gauged happiness levels of all participants, and also administered a series of questions designed to measure focus, or mental presence, throughout the weekend. They were also asked to create a diary of their weekend activities, rating both their level of happiness their focus with each item (resulting in an “emotional score” for the weekend).

The Results
Here’s a quick run-down of the results of the study:

  • Participants in the test group displayed greater Monday-morning happiness, on average, than those in the control group.
  • Participants in the test group also indicated being more focused on the present moment than their control-group companions.
  • Lastly, the control group, on average, showed a lower ‚Äúemotional score‚Äù than the vacation-minded test group.¬†

The researchers concluded that “rather than any changes in one’s activities, it was indeed one’s minding of the present moment throughout the weekend that increased enjoyment during that time and produced greater happiness when back at work.”

For more details, read the article in full at the UCLA Anderson Review. 

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *