We all want the best for our family. We try our best to make smart choices that lead to the entire family’s everyday health and happiness. But what exactly does the good life mean? And how can we work our way towards better well-being? These are timeless questions pondered by every human being. There are many popular sayings, philosophies, and classic adages that shed light on pursuing happiness and well-being. Let’s take a look at what science has to say.
One of the most popular, science-driven perspectives on what adds up to a good life comes from positive psychology. Scientists who have studied successful and flourishing individuals highlighted 5 key elements to their happiness and health. Those who are familiar with Dr. Martin Seligman’s work know this as the PERMA theory of well-being. PERMA stands for:
(1) Positive emotions
(2) Engagement (or having enjoyable activities),
(4) Meaning, and
Using these 5 elements as a guide can help us make smart choices for our family’s well-being and health. At the heart of these principles is the idea of investing more in experiences rather than material things to achieve true happiness. There are hundreds of ways to practice and apply these wellness principles to everyday life. That said, there are go-to activities that the family can do to promote positivity and wellness. Among them are having bonding activities like sports, spending time in nature, and going on family vacations.
We are all looking forward to the day when we can pack our bags and have that long overdue family trip to experience nature and the outdoors. Going on family vacations especially in nature-inspired places is a great way to uplift the entire family’s well-being. Studies show that the positive impact of travel and vacation on wellness begins way before the trip happens (even during the exciting moments of preparations) and extends long after the family has returned from their trip. Leaning into what positive psychology has to say, here are 5 ways on how traveling can enrich the well-being of the family, from kids to adults:
Positive emotions: for exciting adventures and moments of serenity
There’s so much more to positive emotions than feeling happy. A whole spectrum of emotions exists, from awe to zeal, and everything in-between. Experiencing more of these positive emotions contributes to helping us become healthier individuals. Positive emotions can be a lot more subtle than negative ones. The good news is that we can choose to focus on and be more intentional with these positivities. We can look at the past with gratitude, savor moments, and cultivate optimism for the future to name a few.
Organizing a vacation is a great way to be intentional about boosting the whole family’s positive emotion bank. Family holidays are a great way to load up on:
- Enthusiasm and excitement. Planning your travel and looking forward to the next new and amazing activities often makes one feel more enthusiastic and excited. Including the whole family in the plan creates a shared anticipation and joy even weeks or months before the vacation.
- Curiosity, interest, and a sense of wonder. Exploring the outdoors through activities like snorkeling, island hopping, and kayaking.
- Love and Kkindness. More opportunities open up to extend love and care to the family, to acquaintances, and even to strangers.
- Peace and serenity. Unwinding after a day of exploring can give a feeling of serenity and gladness.
- Gratitude and love. For starters, having the family safe, healthy, happy and experience a vacation together inspires gratitude. Apart from this, there are possibly a gazillion other unique reasons that may fill your gratitude list as you see your family spending time together in a picturesque place.
Engagement: enjoyable activities for everyone
Time flies when you’re having fun! Experiences that captivate your attention and simultaneously allow you to practice what you’re good at produce flow or that gratifying feeling wherein the activity is its own reward.
Saying yes to wanderlust can help bring outflow. The heart of travel is often trying out new things and enjoying them together. Going on island hopping tours, sightseeing around town, or even just enjoying laidback quality conversations during mealtimes are venues for engagement.
Relationships: relish your time with the family
The quality of our social relationships contributes to the climate of our overall well-being. Warm, meaningful, and intimate relationships nurture us. Even those fleeting but amiable social connections we have with the boatman and local fish vendor can add up to boosting our overall health.
Remember those fond memories of your loved ones as they enjoy building sandcastles and riding the waves? Going on a family vacation allows you to create memorable experiences with the people you love. A heartwarming quote by Leigh Hunt spells it out, “traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.” Kids will remember and cherish the time you spend with them much more than the material purchases you will give them.
A few more reasons why taking the plunge and booking that tour is a great way to strengthen your family’s relationship:
- Break the monotony! Experience new and old things together. A cup of coffee with someone you love has a different charm when you have the ocean for a backdrop.
- Greet each day with new discoveries et to know your family more. Does your child prefer land, air, or water travel? What new item on the menu did your partner enjoy most? With a stretch of uninterrupted time and in a fresh, new setting, you’ll get to deepen your bond and get to appreciatesee your family in a new light.
- Experience new adventures through your children’s eyes. Having kids in tow allows you to take a slower pace, enjoying the scenes more, and seeing the adventures through fresh eyes.
Meaning: discovering and remembering what matters
Leading a purposeful life contributes to one’s well-being too. This comes from believing in a cause greater than yourself, committing to a life mission, or finding something that inspires you to keep ongoing. Yes, some life lessons we learn best outside the confines of a classroom.
Embarking on that nature-inspired vacation with your family allows you to take a step back from your usual routine to see things from a different perspective. Can’t see the forest for the trees, as the adage goes. Almost always, being transported to a different place surprises us with new and amazing things – from a hidden, picturesque scene at the end of a trek, to a relaxing dip at a newly found culture hub. The best of things unfold when we are with our family. The beauty of travelling with people you love can help you discover and rediscover what matters to you. Inspiring causes may resonate with you when you hop on that plane (or speed boat) with your family.
Some meaningful statements that may resonate with you during a family vacation might include:
- Quality family time matters.
- The days are long but the years are short. Children grow up fast. It’s important to create meaningful experiences with them.
- Travel is education beyond the confines of a classroom!
- Diversity is beautiful. There’s a whole different way of life from what we are used to.
- Nature is captivating –and we have a role to play in conserving its wonders.
When you come back home from your getaway, you know that you are enriched by the experiences. Long after the trip is over, even the mundane and ordinary moments you had during the vacation will warm your heart.
Accomplishment: check off some items on your bucket list
Feeling accomplished is borne out of working towards goals you set for yourself – learning a new skill, gaining mastery in a domain you are passionate about, and even simply sticking to a schedule you set such as working out three times a week. These accomplishments, big and small, allow you to look at your life with a sense of pride and contribute to your well-being.
Going on vacation with the family opens the door to a great sense of satisfaction. From organizing the getaway to experiencing new and exciting activities, to documenting the trip – beginning and capping off a vacation is truly rewarding. Here are some vacation moments that add up to feeling accomplished:
- Touchdown! That moment when you finally land in a place you’ve always wanted to visit.
- Try things you have never done before. Yes, from scuba diving to building sandcastles.
- Mesmerizing sights. Captivating mountain ranges, pristine waters, colorful corals.
- Souvenir of your family photograph in a famous landmark. That includes the wacky takes!
For some, simply having everyone pooled together outside of everyone’s busy daily lives can be a sense of accomplishment. Ultimately, leading a happy and healthy family life is one of the biggest achievements one can gain and continue to strive for.
Now that you know the five elements that help build well-being, it’s time to book that trip and make that vacation happen.