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Holidays help boost your health up to a month after returning

Scientists have recently confirmed what we always suspected: holidaying is great for your health!

That happy holiday feeling may appear to fade quicker than our tans but scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine, University of California and Harvard have discovered that going away for as little as six days can trigger genetic changes that reduce stress, boost the immune system and lower levels of proteins that are linked to dementia and depression.

Moreover, the research found that the beneficial effects were still apparent up to a month after returning.

“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 Dr Elissa Epel, Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco and first author of the study.

"Our results point to both a significant ‘vacation effect’ that benefited all groups, and a suppression of stress-related responses."

Participants were also assessed in terms of well-being. The team found that holidays that included relaxing activities such as meditation had an additional benefit on health.

In fact, while all participants reported psychological improvements up to one month later, those who meditated “also had fewer symptoms of depression and less stress than the non-meditating vacationers after 10 months.”

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