Vacations And Stress—I Have A Dream

by Doc Orman, M.D.


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vacations and stressIn my first post this week, we explored the good, the bad, and the ugly about using vacations to deal with your stress

In my second post, I highlighted one of the major disadvantages of using vacations to deal with stress—namely, that when you go on vacation, even if you have a great time, you probably don’t learn anything new about how to reduce your stress when you get back home. So it’s highly predictable that in just a short period of time after you return home from vacation, your stress levels will be exactly where they were before you left.

But what if all that could change?  What if you could go on vacation and not only have a peaceful, enjoyable and relaxing time, but also learn something really useful that could help you deal with your stress long after your vacation has ended? 

What if instead of your stress levels quickly going back to same heightened levels that they were before you departed, you learned something useful on your vacation that enabled you to lower your overall stress levels, whether you ever went on another vacation or not?

I Have A Dream

I have a dream to create a new type of vacation program, one where you go on vacation, have a great time, and come back empowered to deal more effectively with any type of stress in your life.  I’m sure there are already vacation programs out there, such as on cruise ships or associated with certain spas, where people go on vacation and also participate in educational activities.  And perhaps there are already some packages out there that even purport to help you learn how to deal with your stress.

But none of them would be similar to the type of stress reducing vacation-education package I envision.  Mine would be totally unique in the industry.

Full Immersion Stress Relief

I would make the entire trip about learning how to master stress.  Don’t get me wrong, the vacationing part would still be front and center, but I would create an educational context (and goal) around it so that everything that happens can be used to help people learn how to masterfully deal with stress.

For example, I would start every day with a full group breakfast followed by a one-hour interactive group discussion about principles for mastering stress.  Then, I would let people do whatever they want for the day, or do whatever the trip organizers have arranged.  Then, later in the day, either right before dinner or sometime afterwards, I would reconvene the entire group to debrief on what took place—from a stress standpoint—during the interval between morning and evening sessions.

Root Causes Of Stress Are Exactly The Same!

You see, while many stressful things can and do happen, at least to some people, on any given day of a vacation, the root causes of any stress people experience while on vacation are exactly the same as the root causes of stress they experience at home or at work.  While it may look like the circumstances producing stress on vacation are so very different from the circumstances you encounter at home (and they may be), the root causes of any stress you experience are exactly the same.

Thus, I would incorporate any stressful experiences individual members of the group have, during each and every day of vacation, as the primary substrate for teaching the morning and evening stress relief classes.  And I would identify and highlight key stress relieving principles during each session, so that people could have these foremost in their consciousness as they go about their typical vacationing activities throughout each day.

In this way, the entire vacation would take on a new and expanded purpose and goal.  Instead of going away just to temporarily get away from your stressful circumstances at home or at work, you would still go away to get away, yet you’d be learning things each day that would be extremely valuable to you and would help you reduce your previous types of stress once you return home.

And believe me, the twice-a-day group education/training sessions would probably be a blast.  They would not be didactic or pre-scripted at all.  Rather, people would be encouraged to share their stories and stressful experiences with each other, in the presence of a trained stress mastery group leader/educator (me), who could help them discover not only what the underlying causes of each stressful event might be, but how they could reduce or eliminate any stress associated with whatever happened, and also how they could take the very same principles and apply them to reducing stress in other situations that occur back at home.

Personally, I’d find this type of group vacation-education package, focused on helping empower you to deal more effectively with stress, very attractive.  If you know anyone who might like to organize such a trip, or if you want to arrange one yourself, just contact me and I’ll see if I can make myself available.

Because of my current involvements, responsibilities, and commitments, I have not been actively pursuing vacation vendors, cruise ship operators, spa owners, or other types of planners to consider hosting such a trip, but eventually I will.  But if you want to organize one now, I am open to working it out.  Just go to the contact tab on this blog and leave me a message.

Well, this wraps up my three blog posts this week on why going on standard vacations to deal with your stress is not a very powerful or effective coping strategy.  But it could become one in the near future, with just a little creativity, vision and intent.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tammy Kevwitch August 10, 2012 at 8:23 PM

This was a great article. It sounds like an effective way to help people learn valuable ways to lessen negative stress in their lives. I think it would be a lot of fun.

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