How travel can improve your mental health
WE all have our own idea of the perfect getaway; whether it’s exploring off the beaten track, kicking back on a beach, becoming a local for a week, or just getting the opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends.
Whatever springs to mind when you think of travel, one thing all of these experiences have in common is that they improve your mental health and help to cultivate a happier, healthier – and more productive – you.
Here are five proven ways that show getting out of your daily routine and into holiday mode can drastically enhance your well-being:
Let the stress evaporate off you
According to a report from VeryWell, three days after taking a vacation, travelers report feeling less anxious, stressed and feel more rested, which boosts their mood.
The positive, stress-relieving effects of travel can linger for far longer than the duration of the holiday. For up to five weeks after a trip, holiday-goers can experience less-stressful days in the office as the endorphins and serotonin released by the brain can stay around for a while.
This not only improves your mood, but can actually add years to your life. People who lead stress-free lives are proven to live longer than those constantly feeling the grind.
Reinvent yourself and get creative
Taking time out from your everyday routine can allow you to get back in touch with what makes you happy, and give you a break from focusing on others’ needs.
The journey of self-discovery can clear your thoughts, get you back to focusing on yourself, and allow you to live your best life.
Travel lowers risk of depression
A by-product of traveling is happiness, and happiness and self-satisfaction massively reduce the risk of depression.
A study from Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women, in particular, who travel at least twice a year, are at less risk of developing depression and chronic stress than those who only vacation once every two years.
“Getting away helps to distance yourself from the stressful parts of your life. It can help restore your perspective, give you new viewpoints, and allow you to develop new strategies to cope,” Dr Mel Borins says in the report.
Push your boundaries
If you’re fond of creature comforts, then going on vacation can be a difficult adjustment. However, just experiencing a different culture, tasting new foods and learning the basic local lingo can enhance your sense of personal achievement, which releases endorphins.
According to one research paper, traveling to a foreign country can challenge how strong you are to openness.
The challenges you face can soon be perceived as experiences that help build your resilience and allow you to be less emotionally sensitive to everyday changes.
Sometimes we can become so used to our surroundings, we forget how to be grateful for what we have and instead perceive our lives as monotonous.
Yet, even something as simple as reading this article should be a reminder of how fortunate we are. After all, we all have access to the Internet and the literacy skills to read it; things that, to many in the world, are a real luxury.
Being able to experience different cultures that perhaps don’t have the same comforts that we enjoy, allows us to re-evaluate our lives.
Studies have proven there is a direct correlation between gratitude and well-being, as reflecting on your own situation and privilege can make you feel content with your life, creating a sense of happiness and satisfaction.
So, with proven results traveling can improve mental health and further your desire to explore the world, what’s stopping you from booking your ticket?