Visiting Favorite Places Helps People Find Emotional Well Being

Palm Trees

I am a member of a listserv and one our managers, Kate, always has
insightful and informative posts.  Kate recently discussed a study which
talked about “favorite places.” I did some research on the study and was
so inspired, I decided to blog about the study!

A “favorite places” study was done through the Department of Psychology,
University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.  This study first reviewed the
literature on the topic.   Previous studies suggest that favorite places
help reduce stress and stabilize emotions. The current study used a
prospective, experimental design to investigate the hypothesis that a
group of adults instructed to regularly visit their local favorite places
will experience greater daily restoration (AKA, emotional stability) and
fewer self-reported physical symptoms than a group instructed to avoid all
favorite-place visits.

For the current study, members of the favorite-place group were asked to
visit their local favorite places at least once per day on 5 weekdays.
They visited five times, on average, and also reported all other place
visits in a structured place diary. Members of the not-visiting group
visited their favorite place 0-1 times and daily reported all place visits
outside the home. The control group, which was given instructions that did
not mention favorite places, reported all place visits outside the home.
Restorative experiences (assessed on the Restoration Outcome Scale and
including attentiveness, relaxation, clearing one’s mind, subjective
vitality, and self-confidence) and self-reported physical symptoms
(headache, backache, muscle tension and pain) were measured with
structured health diaries using Likert scales.

The study collected data in 2006 and analyzed the data in 2007 and 2008.
The study revealed every day the group visiting favorite places
experienced significantly stronger restorative experiences than the
not-visiting and control groups. The groups did not differ in the amount
of self-rated physical symptoms reported at the end of each day. In all
groups such symptoms decreased toward the end of the week.

The study concluded that visiting favorite places affect subjective
well-being. Healthcare professionals write prescriptions for helpful
medications.  How about writing prescriptions for visiting your favorite
places?

By the way, don’t forget to visit your favorite places!

****

Edward Leigh, MA, is the Founder and Director of the Center for Healthcare
Communication.  To book one of his high-content CME-approved keynote
speeches or training programs, visit or call:
http://www.CommunicatingWithPatients.com or call 1-800-677-3256

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