New research proves that you owe it to your health both to go on vacation, and to meditate while you’re there. You’re welcome.
Indeed, scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School designed a study to look at the biological impact of meditation and vacation.
Researchers discovered that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate positive impact on stress (we knew that!) as well as an actual immunity boost — plus short-term improvements in overall emotional wellbeing.
And meditating while you’re on vacation? Well that just sends the positive benefits of your out-of-office time over the top.
The study involved 94 healthy women, aged 30 to 60. Two thirds were not regular meditators. They stayed at the same resort in California for six days, and half simply enjoyed a chilled-out vacation while the other half joined a meditation training program designed by Deepak Chopra.
The researchers also looked at experienced meditators who were already enrolled in the meditation retreat.
Well, in the end, results showed that all groups — novice meditators, experienced meditators, and vacationers — saw big changes after the week at the resort, related to stress response and immune function. All groups showed improvements for up to a month. Let that sink in: Your vacation with meditation component keeps paying for itself in health benefits even after you’re back to the grind.
“It's intuitive that taking a vacation reduces biological processes related to stress, but it was still impressive to see the large changes in gene expression from being away from the busy pace of life, in a relaxing environment, in such a short period of time,” said the study’s first author, Elissa S. Epel, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco.
So to recap, vacation and meditation doesn’t just provide a just a mental boost, but a physical one. So off you go to a digital detox vacation or a fit camp with meditation… in the name of good health!
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