Travel. We all love to get away, see the world, and shift our perspective - and there's no denying it’s a great stress buster! Interestingly, money can buy happiness - just not in the way we've been lead to believe. Investing your hard-earned capital into building your experience bank leads to lasting happiness more than anything else we buy according to Cornell's University professor, Amit Kumar and colleagues. They also discovered that having a planned vacation in the diary boosts our happiness in the lead up to our holiday.
Plan your holiday time well in advance, book your tickets, and lock it in your diary. When the work/ home life gets stressful, create a destination vision board for the activities you're visiting. Read a book set in the country you're visiting for example, “The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo is set in Norway and paint a literary picture of culture and customs.
But how can we turn lasting happiness into an everlasting love?
If you need to melt your stress, there's no better way than getting to the water. Research shows that even just looking out onto the flowing river or waving sea releases those stress-busting neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin that banish cortisol to the depths of the sea. Not only that, those splashing waves unlock that so-called "cuddle" hormone, Oxytocin making us feel all warm and fuzzy and all is right with the world! Even the sound of water, be it a babbling brook, the tumbling waterfall, or the rhythmic waves of the open ocean loosens the love and lightens the load of a stress-based life. Dr Nicols even found that when couples swim or play in the water together, it cements the bond between them owing to a spike in Oxytocin.
Dive in, swim together.
Being in nature is scientifically proven to boost both our physical and mental health. The charity "30 Days Wild" campaign found that people who took part in the challenge were 30% physically healthier and happier. And, the more people engaged with experiences such as feeding animals, the higher the level of sustained benefit months after the exposure.
When on "safari" take every opportunity to commit random acts of wildness. Get stuck in and immerse yourself in your cultural education.
The sound of natural environments, like the sound of waves splashing, is proven to melt away the stress and anxiety by shifting your mind to more external-focused attention. Brighton and Sussex Medical School notices changes in peoples autonomic nervous system response transitioning from a 'fight-flight state' to a 'rest-and-digest' state when they tuned in to the sounds of the natural habitat like birds singing or waves splashing.
To get yourself in tune with nature, try an Open-Monitoring meditation of the sounds indigenous to the environment. Begin by using your breath as a vehicle to set the mind free of thoughts; allow the music of nature to pull you back to the present moment experience to anchor yourself in your holiday experience. Then expand your consciousness to the feelings of "Oneness" with a scent of air you breathe, let your heart lift up to the vastness of the great open sky, and allow the colours of the sunrise and sunset warm your aura.
Wilderness therapy is the now favoured mind-body workout of the modern couple. Why? Biokinetics. Hiking on uneven terrain kicks your body out of its regular rhythm by recruiting different strength muscles and engaging the more subtle balance muscles as you navigate the rocky slopes. This strenuous workout increases the amount of energy your body uses by 28% as your heart rate and metabolic rate rises and falls to the cadence of the mountain, like a HIIT workout, you burn far more calories than an urban walk.
Hiking as a couple helps to build the relationship because not only travelling on a journey together but also because you are trusting each other's skills and working together to navigate the challenges of jumping crevasses, plotting your course, and simply being together in silence.
The experience of trekking a variable terrain also creates a mental alchemy. The crisp, clean air acts as a transfusion for the brain clearing out that the mental chatter, anxious ruminating, and inward-looking overdrive.
Enhance the benefits of hiking by soaking up the sights, sounds and scents of nature while working out that body.
The novelty of travelling the world is a great way to escape the stresses and commitments of ordinary life because it sprinkles changes sights, sounds, and experiences. Changing your environment is an effective way to shift your perspective, take stock, and add meaning to that hum-drum life. New cultures open our minds to the wonderful variety life has to offer and in doing so hacks creative thinking.
The enemy of creativity is boredom so changing it up, immerse and engage with the local environment and be curious about everything you're seeing. Have fun and don't be afraid to tap into your inner child - take yourself to the edge of your comfort zone by going as 'different' as you can go!
Making memories with your significant other is an excellent way of strengthening the love-knot. A unique shared experience increases a sense closeness and intimacy with your partner because you've discovered and grown together by sharing an interest special to you. You've carved out an "exclusive" cave in your memory brain-bank and then revisiting that memory at a later time is a sure starter for rekindling the romantic spark.
Use your travel stories to spark up the conversation between you and where memory lane leads you.