Your Brain on Vacation

Jan 16, 2012   //   Academics, Blog, Health, Research

by Kathryn Wage

Have you had a vacation this summer?  Most of us can hardly wait to get away from the routines of daily life, the valley heat and the other stressors that surround us. You may think you know what the benefits of leaving town are but there is little documented research about what really happens when we “go on vacation.”  Good news! Neuroscience research supports our desires for a vacation and points out the benefits for all ages of brains.

It turns out that going on vacation can improve your creative thinking especially if you travel to multicultural environments.  Multicultural learning and living abroad improves insight, association and generation of new ideas according to Adam Galinsky and William Maddux in a somewhat unscientific article.  Many of us return to the same vacation spots each year and have the same experiences repeatedly because they are nostalgic and comfortable.  It turns out that this type of vacation may be less stimulating for the brain which rejuvenates itself based on novelty.

Vacations have been recognized as having recuperative benefits and the research somewhat supports this notion especially when looking at heart attack statistics and depression.

You can purposely design your vacation to get even more benefit for your brain.Feelings of well-being increase if your vacation plans include enjoyable free time ,travel to a warmer location, exercising, getting enough sleep and meeting new people.  On the other hand stressors like health issues, colder climates and bigger time differences can cause more exhaustion upon returning home.

Finally, your brain is especially happy if you travel to new places and learn something new for the first time.  It is as if you go back to childhood when all learning was new learning. This is especially good for older brains in need of rejuvenation but applies to all ages.

At the California Learning Connection we are concerned about brain health for all ages and provide the right kind of “brain stimulation” through our innovative programs and therapies.  If you have questions about the right kind of stimulation to increase learning, improve memory, focus, attention and sequencing skills over a life-span call for a free consultation.  It is not exactly a trip to Paris, but your brain will thank you.

Center For Communication Skills, Speech & Language Pathologists, Fresno, CA