It's official. Vacations are not only good for your spirits, they're good for your physical health. Psychologists Brooks Gump and Karen Matthews from the State University of New York have finished a study of over 12,000 men who took regular vacations and those who did not. It turns out that taking an annual holiday cut the chances of dying from heart disease by one third, even for men at risk for heart attacks. (The study didn't include men who were in very poor physical health.)

The fewer vacations the men took over five years, the greater their chances of dying within the next decade.

Gump adds that this agrees with new evidence that relaxation may help clear fats from arteries.

And if your vacation includes some lovely vistas, you may be in even more luck. USA Today adds a footnote from psychologist Steven Kaplan of the Univeristy of Michigan, who has found that beauty "focuses attention, helping people plan better and deflect distractions while lowering irritability." In other words, simply observing beauty helps you handle things better.

The flipside, as we've long known, is also true. The stresses that make you feel you can't afford to take a vacation, whether work or finance related, add health risks.

So why are you sitting there? Book your vacation today.

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