Mental Health Benefits of Visiting Mackinac Island

What makes you happy?

A stroll along the water? A book you just can’t put down?

There’s actually a simple formula for making your heart smile, according to “The Happiness Equation,” a groundbreaking book written by New York Times bestselling author Neil Pasricha. And it just takes 20 minutes per day!

Just take a few moments each and every day to nurture your mental health by doing one of these three things: Go for a brisk nature walk, read 20 pages of fiction or write in a journal about experiences that make you happy.

That’s it! After spending more than a decade talking to hundreds of psychologists and some of the world’s most successful business people, that’s the formula Pasricha prescribes for a happy life.

A young woman poses with a tandem bicycle at the edge of a wildflower field beneath a rock outcropping on Mackinac Island

How Traveling to Mackinac Island Can Make You Happier

It’s no coincidence that going on vacation is when we often find the time to do the things that really, truly make us happy. Not the kind of vacation that’s jam-packed with scheduled activities that require a wake-up call. Instead, the kind of vacation where it’s okay to slow down, exhale and relieve stress by reading a book, going for a walk or journaling your thoughts.

The kind of positive mental health vacation that Mackinac Island offers.

Where else can you see historic rock formations on a hike through America’s second national park?

Where else can you sit on the porch of a historic hotel, favorite beverage in hand, and lose yourself in a book as warm breezes from the Straits of Mackinac caress your soul?

Where else does the pace of life slow to the clip-clop pace of a horse, giving you time to do the things you love – and time after that to write about your day?

Red and purple flowers bloom on Mackinac Island with the blue water and Mackinac Bridge in the background

Visiting Mackinac Island, the World’s ‘Wildest and Tenderest Piece of Beauty’

Nearly two hundred years ago, British writer Harriet Martineau paid a happy visit to Mackinac Island. She wrote about charming morning walks with “wildflowers all around and scattered knolls and opening vistas tempting curiosity in every direction.”

When her time on Mackinac Island came to a close, she called it the “wildest and tenderest piece of beauty that I have yet seen on God’s earth.” Incredibly, Mackinac Island is much the same today as it was then!

Indeed, there is only one Mackinac Island. Where else can you find true happiness this year?

A smiling young boy sits on a wall with flowers and a horse-drawn carriage behind him on Mackinac Island

Happy Things to Do on Mackinac Island

Neil Pasricha’s research finds that happiness is not about working harder and being more successful. It’s not about earning more money or getting all your financial ducks in a row. It’s not about buying a lucky lotto ticket or having a fairy tale wedding with a charming prince (although Mackinac Island is great for fairy tale weddings!)

Happiness comes from other things. Like walking through the quiet woods of Mackinac Island State Park or riding a bike along the water all the way around Mackinac Island. Like playing golf on a historic battlefield or skipping stones atop the water on a carefree summer day. Like shopping in downtown Mackinac Island, relaxing on a scenic Mackinac Island porch or sampling world-famous Mackinac Island fudge and the island’s other culinary delights.

Ironically, many of the things that make us happiest, we just don’t spend a lot of time doing. Be sure to make time for those things this year!


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