The importance of vacations is well documented. Studies show that some quality leisure time is a definite stress buffer . . . not to mention a depression and anxiety reducer, a positive mood increaser, and a self-esteem improver. And those mental health benefits yield some physical benefits as well, since chronic stress can take its toll on the body's ability to resist infections and maintain vital functions. In fact, studies show that annual holidays cut the risk of heart attacks in men by 30 percent and by 50 percent in women. That's one powerful vacation.