GOOD

Why You Absolutely Can’t Work This Labor Day Weekend

A study reveals that vacation is essential to good health—thanks, science!

Image via Pexels

According to a study published in Springer Nature's journal Translational Psychiatry on Wednesday, vacations and meditation are quantifiably good for you. That’s good news for those who might be feeling guilty about leaving their laptops and work-related worries behind this Labor Day weekend.


Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, UC San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School recruited 94 women between the ages of 30 and 60 who were reportedly in good health for the study. Scientists sent the women—some regular meditators and some not—on two different retreats to determine how meditating impacted “gene expression patterns” versus going on a straightforward vacation. Researchers analyzed 20,000 genes before and after the trips to determine the difference between what scientists dub the “meditation effect” and the “vacation effect.”

As it turns out, both have significant, positive impacts on your health and well-being. In a press release, Mount Sinai Hospital stated that the study’s scientists discovered “a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short-term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress.” The meditation retreat showed signs of antiviral activity in the participants as well, indicating mindful relaxation can have health benefits beyond the psychological.

UCSF Professor of Psychiatry and lead author of the study, Elissa S. Epel, PhD, said of her team’s findings:

“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.”

While the study was small and Epel admits they need to replicate their findings to bolster legitimacy, it does give some scientific credence to that refreshed, youthful feeling we get upon returning from a restful vacation. According to the study, participants showed health and immune system improvements up to one month after the retreat’s conclusion. In other words, let loose this weekend—if you care about your health, that is.

Articles

A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

Keep Reading
Health
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading
Politics
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
Communities