July 8

How Travel Can Benefit Your Mental Health

While 2020 might not have been the year for travel that we all hoped, it has paved the way for us to think of where we might like to go in the future. When you hear the word travel, the chances are that your own version of travel perfection is in your head. It could be that you think of a relaxing vacation with nothing else to do other than lie on a beach and read a book, free from the stresses of everyday life.

It could mean traveling to a far flung, remote location where you discover new cultures, sounds and sights, or it could be somewhere that reminds you of your family. No matter what it is that you are picturing, travel is about so much more than a few days of escapism. Travel can be a great booster for your mental health in so many ways and that is why it is important to try and get away when you can. Here are just a few ways that traveling can make your mental wellbeing that bit better.

It is a great stress buster

Let’s face it, everyday life is stressful. In our modern society we are always rushing to be somewhere or do something, with very little down-time to actually reflect and relax. We are constantly working to adhere to tight deadlines, to meet people, phone someone or just take care of the everyday chores of life. From washing up to cleaning or doing laundry, it feels our to do lists are never letting up. Travel helps to take your mind off of those stressful situations. Removed from your normal location, you can free yourself of any stressful or negative thoughts that might reside there. You aren’t sat surrounded by mounds of washing up, or with your laptop just a few feet away reminding you of projects that you have due. It gives you a chance to completely let go and just draw yourself back to the basics of who you are and what makes you happy. You get to slow right down and feel better about yourself. A 2013 study by the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Assn found that the Benefits of travel are almost immediate. After only a day or two, 89% of respondents saw significant drops in stress. It also found that men who did not take an annual vacation were shown to have a 20% higher risk of death and about a 30% greater risk of death from heart disease.

It makes you more resilient

While traveling is exciting and great fun, it is also a great way to get you out of your comfort zone. It could be that you don’t often try new foods and are encouraged to do so, or that you have to test your language skills. You could find that you are having to make your way around a strange city with poor navigational tools, or that you need to get somewhere new by a certain time. Whatever it is, these experiences will all make you more mentally resilient and strong. When you travel, because you are often forced to face these situations and can’t duck out of them, you learn how to better problem solve and think on your feet. You also get used to feeling uncomfortable or being pushed out of your comfort zone which might not happen often at home. This means that in the future when you are back in your office or heading to an important meeting, if you come across a challenge that you might have shied away from before, you will be better equipped to handle it.

It opens you up to new experiences and cultures

As the famous saying goes, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” and it is very true. When you come back from a trip, your mind will be much richer than when you left, and you will find yourself with memories and experiences under your belt that will last you a lifetime. It could be that when you are traveling you meet the love of your life and get married, if so, and you decide to marry, you will need to look into green card marriage. It could be that you meet and engage with a culture that you never knew existed and get the chance to try new foods and adopt new customs, or it could be that you discover a sight that is so different from what you experience at home. All of these will contribute to enriching your mind and making you a much more cultured person.

It can be a long-term mood booster

Travel can be a long-term mood booster, both before you and go and once you come back. Having something to look forward to and a future plan can be very beneficial for our mental health. If the future looks like an endless cycle of things just being the same, it can be detrimental. By having something to count down to it can lend a sense of purpose and give you a clear goal and path to follow. Travel can also be a mood booster long after you come back. When you return from your trip, you will have a wealth of memories and moments to share with others and to also remember as a pick me up when you are feeling down. We usually look back at holidays with a particular fondness and when we come back and are having a bad day, can look at these photos or think of the times we had and cheer ourselves up.

These are just a few of the ways that travel can benefit your mental health. There is such a myriad of reasons that getting on a plane, train, ferry or car and heading to a new destination can make us feel much better about ourselves and our lives in general. While travel restrictions are in place now, they won’t be forever. Don’t waste time, why not get planning your next trip today?

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