Summer’s over and we’re moving into that time of year where for many of us, it’s hard to find time to take a day off. After all, after using your vacation days over the summer and with the holidays just around the corner, slowing down can mean getting so far behind your never able to catch up.
But, luckily according to a new study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, you don’t have to take a vacation day to get all of the benefits of one.
In fact, all you have to do is spend 15 minutes on an easy, relaxing activity…
Get a mood and well-being boost in minutes
The research, performed at the University of Groningen, followed 40 college students and community members over an eight-week period. Every other week the participants were asked to spend 15 minutes simply meditating. They also completed daily surveys on their mood, state of mind, and mental well-being.
In order to compare the effect of meditation on mental health versus a vacation day, the research team tracked each time the participants took a day off.
And, here’s what they found…
Not only did the participants who meditated report higher levels of mindfulness, but they also said that they felt less stressed and less likely to react in a negative way, even compared to the people who took a vacation day.
Statements the meditators were likely to agree with included:
- “I paid attention to sounds such as clocks ticking, birds chirping, or cars passing”
- “I watched my feelings without getting lost in them.”
As study author and assistant professor at the University of Groningen, Christopher May puts it, “We found that just 15-minutes of meditation was associated with similar effects as a day of vacation on aspects of mindfulness. Both meditators and vacationers reported heightened awareness of their environment and greater equanimity in experiencing their emotions.”
Previous research backs it up
And, this isn’t the first study to find that substantial benefits can derive from a short meditation session.
Previous research has found that meditation can help you feel happier, restore your level of calm, and help you remain present in the moment so you get more enjoyment out of life’s simple pleasures.
Related: 10 ways meditation makes you better
To top it off, meditating could be your key to beating fatigue. That’s because a 2019 study found that just 10 minutes of mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, can energize you as much as an extra hour of sleep.
So, if you can’t get away for a day, much less a week, from work — no worries. You’ll get just as much benefit, if not more from escaping the daily grind and spending 15 minutes relaxing with a soothing meditation — no plane ticket, expensive hotel, or rental car necessary.