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1. To protect your ticker.
According to a study involving nearly 13,000 high-risk heart patients, people who regularly take annual vacations slash their risk of death from heart disease by as much as 29 percent.

2. To extend your life.
The same study found that people who vacation have a 17 percent lower risk of death from any cause.

3. To be happier—even before you leave home.
Dutch scientists discovered that simply anticipating a trip increases happiness. And a study published in 2009 in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that vacations and other leisure activities lead to a more positive outlook and lower levels of depression.

4. To improve the quality of your relationship.
Research by the Rural Women's Health Study revealed a direct correlation between frequency of vacations and odds of marital satisfaction: The more time a woman took off, the happier she was at home.

5. To boost your productivity.
Numerous studies on workers have shown that time off is crucial for stress recovery (a process of psychophysiological unwinding)—and that stress recovery is key to improving well-being and performance on the job.

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