Finding flow during a vacation

Using optimal experiences to improve health

Authored by: John K. Coffey , Mihály Csikszentmihályi

The Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138909830
eBook ISBN: 9781315693774
Adobe ISBN: 9781317437505


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In this chapter, we provide a vignette to highlight a few of the ways that one might experience flow (i.e. optimal experience) while on vacation. Flow experiences occur when you become fully and energetically absorbed in an activity such that the activity is rewarding in and of itself, regardless of the extrinsic outcomes. These flow experiences are so rewarding that time flies by and at the end we want to do them again, which is likely to result in travellers who are feeling healthy and excited to return to a particular destination where they enjoy and experience flow often. Knowing that people vacation for a wide range of reasons, we highlight how flow might be experienced during a range of activities such as fitness, leisure, relaxation, socialisation and intimacy. We detail the conditions of a flow experience and the numerous benefits. Despite these benefits, the tourism industry and tourists may often overlook or unintentionally add barriers to such flow experiences. Thus, we explain conditions and barriers to flow while vacationing. In addition, we offer recommendations about how the tourism industry might seek to promote more flow.

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