Travel can be an exhilarating experience and no matter how taxing it gets, one can just never get enough of it. After a while, it becomes a habit and finally an addiction. But this is the kind of addiction that one needs to have in their life because the health benefits of traveling are many. What needs to be understood is that the human lifespan is too short to be spent on unnecessary worries and stress as beyond all the trouble and distress lies a world that only knows adventure, a world where there are people but no judgments, curiosity but no greed, and one needs to get out of his/her comfort zone to make it all happen and experience the magical positive effects of traveling.
Travel is not just about making memories and meeting new people; there are benefits that go beyond all of this. We are not talking about physical fitness here, it is the mental health, that traveling has an impact upon. We often brush aside the significance of mental health and the result is horrible. Traveling can not only have a healing impact on one’s psyche, but it can lead to certain cognitive developments as well.
So here in this article, we shall delve into such exceptional impacts of travel on the psyche or mental health.
Breaking the status quo
Whether you travel abroad, to a different district or state, or even the nearest town, it affects your mental health, as it breaks the negative and monotonous cycle that seriously can mess your life up. It is this cycle that we need to break in order to keep ourselves away from the distress that a routine-based life can bring along. Besides once you are back to your same old routine after traveling, you start anew and can work harder than before.
Going somewhere you have never been before, can have a completely different and invigorating impact on your life and your psyche. Another way to break the monotony is to connect with nature. Connecting with nature is as good as connecting with yourself, as this again, is a revivifying experience altogether. Further, traveling to a place with scenic beauty can help treat depression and distress. Therefore, going on weekly nature trails and exploring nature and thus yourself can be a rejuvenating experience. So this is one of the major reasons why travel is good for your mental health.
Traveling helps you break the negative cycle and improve your mental health.
Gaining a new perspective
Traveling is about learning. Learning about new places, about new cultures and traditions, meeting new people, learning their languages and dialects, is about survival and realizing the eternal concept of life. Travel is about learning different ways to live life. Traveling to new places and getting acquainted with the culture of that place helps you gain a different perspective. We start seeing the world in a different light. The kind of knowledge and perspective you gain from traveling can make you think against the customs and the norms of the world.
The Sri Lankan culture, for instance, and their way of living, is completely different from those of Mexicans. The cultures of Canada and Hawaii differ largely. But every place has its own lifestyle and when you travel to such different places, you imbibe their culture and implement it in your own life and this is what multiculturalism is all about.
So when you keep yourself preoccupied with traveling, learning, and gaining new experiences and perspectives, you leave no place for distress, depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses to kick in. And, this is actually the real meaning of staying healthy while traveling.
Lowering stress levels
Years of hard work, sleepless days and nights, an unhealthy diet, and an awful load of stress. All this, just for a few thousand dollars! Is this really the way you want to spend your precious life. You need a break from such a lifestyle because it increases the chances of a mental breakdown, depression, and even a heart attack. This is when one needs to understand why traveling is of great importance. A tedious lifestyle is the major cause of high-stress levels. When you set out on a trip, with your friends, family, or even by yourself, you prioritize yourself over your work schedules, otherworldly worries, and commitments. Studies have shown that just having a trip planned is enough for our minds to feel content. In other words, the anticipation of a getaway makes us feel the happiest and there are no better health benefits of traveling than this.
So when you travel, you are away from all the taxing activities and thus your body releases the hormone, serotonin, also known as the happy hormone. Mental health is thus largely affected positively when you travel because stress is the major cause of any mental illness and stress is exactly what traveling acts against. Lowering the stress levels and refreshing the mind and the body is what traveling does.
It’s about the confidence
Travel is undoubtedly about releasing stress, connecting with yourself, and making memories with your loved ones. But what most of us miss to notice is that travel is also about meeting new people and spending enough time with them to know their culture and tradition. Traveling is not just hanging out with your friends having a couple of beers or visiting the spas around. It can also involve roaming around on scorching days, getting lost, and sometimes getting broke as well. All this, is a part of travel, as is stress, a part of life. But what it teaches you is to find your way through and get back on track.
Traveling infuses a unique kind of attitude in you. While traveling, when you meet new people, you let go of your fears and your anxiety and when you overcome those fears, you discover a new part of yourself, you never knew even existed. That is exactly what traveling is about. It makes you courageous and increases your self-esteem too.
Travel is about self-care
Your mind and your mental health will remain intact as long as you take care of them. The moment your stress level increases, the mental health will start deteriorating. A weekly or even monthly trip to an unknown place can make all the difference. After all the frustration, deadlines, and heavy workload, it becomes utterly significant for the brain to get some rest. Now, nine hours of sleep wouldn’t just be the answer to this, as one would wake up to the same tedious routine once again. What the mind needs is a refreshing holiday. Traveling is the easiest way to refresh the brain as you need to break the monotony.
Besides, travel planning can be really exciting and can give you the satisfaction of doing things your way, which your work wouldn’t. So, when you travel, you are doing yourself a favor and treating yourself and your body, which is an act of self-care, leading ultimately to a healthy psyche.
Traveling enhances creativity
Traveling not only helps you get rid of extreme distress, but it helps in cognitive developments as well. So it’s not just about packing your bags and setting out on an unexplored journey, but about the impact this whole process can have on your cognitive skills. Further, it is a proven fact, that traveling increases cognitive flexibility, which in turn enhances creativity. People who travel often can be more creative than the ones who do not.
Further, extended traveling may also improve your problem-solving skills and increase your productivity as well. It is also important to note that traveling can only stimulate creativity when you travel to a new place and get acquainted with the culture over there. Therefore, multiculturalism can pave the way for creativity.
Traveling makes the mind strong
The work environment is usually taxing and bland and it takes out most of your energy. It is a place where job uncertainties prevail and the workload is humongous. So at the end of the day a person is drained and exhausted, not to mention, what working for months in the same condition feels like. Traveling to a place quiet and ambient with your loved ones can be a true treat for one. Besides, when you happen to travel to new places and meet new people, you try to adapt to their environment, which is an enriching experience for the mind.
This is when your psyche learns to blend in with the new environment and you are out of your comfort zone, which makes you emotionally stronger and flexible. This perhaps is the easiest way to strengthen your mind and prepare yourself for any difficulty that may befall you. It is therefore your mind that benefits the most out of this treat, making it very clear why travel is good for your mental health.
Travel makes you empathetic
Most of us, due to our personal experience and someone else’s opinion, set our own views and perspectives about certain sections of the society or people. These views are based on personal and someone else’s experience. When you travel, you come across all kinds of people and there is a great chance that your opinion of those people is just an unconscious bias towards them. When you spend time with them, you realize how prejudiced the mind can become, making way for some positive effects of traveling.
Traveling is the best way to avoid prejudices as you learn to be empathetic towards people and when you travel to several places, you learn a lot about different personalities of different people across the world.
Travel makes you emotionally stable
Not only is travel a stress buster, but it also makes you emotionally stable. This is one aspect of travel that we do not pay much attention to, but it is one of the most significant aspects of all. The common result of daily hassles has an extremely negative impact on our psyche, but when we set out on small trails and trips, we tend to open up to people around us as well as the people we meet. So, travel can, in fact, strengthen the openness aspect of our personalities.
Travelers have to adapt to new environments, new people, and their cultures and the more one engages with this newness, the more will he/she be broad-minded. Therefore, regular travelers are more emotionally stable than non-travelers.
Travel can strengthen relationships
We often find people around us, who are completely work driven or career-oriented and are extremely successful. What matters here is whether they are really happy or do they spend time with their families because it is usually the family we work for and in pursuance of our dearly dreams and goals, we work so hard that what matters to us the most is left aside and we hardly have time for our loved ones and this puts a strain on those relationships, and these rifts usually lead to divorces and regrets. This is why traveling with your loved ones, won’t only act as a stress buster for you, but it will also help, revive your bonds with them.
Travel helps you to be physically fit
You can hit the gym and workout every day and still be unfit. This is because mental health is much more important than physical health and one cannot be psychologically ill and physically fit. When you travel, your mind is active and is in a continuous state of excitement and happiness. So when you are mentally fit and blooming, you are physically as well as psychologically fit.
There have been cases where chronic illnesses have been treated with a change in the environment because it is the mind that is in control of the body and as the psyche is enriched, your body recovers automatically.
We often forget the true purpose of humanity and instead of discovering our true potential; we get entangled with all kinds of unnecessary worldly affairs. To travel is to let go of all those worries and expectations, to rebuild ourselves, and to treat our mind the way it deserves to be treated. It’s high time to reap the health benefits of traveling and make the most of your time. After all,
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all…”- Hellen Keller