Travel is often thought of as a leisure activity, though if you’re looking for a way to get your wellness back on track, it actually does more than just satisfying the urge for new discovery.
Changing your scenery, even for a few hours can go a long way to resetting yourself, and you may be surprised at the wonders a good holiday can do for your mental health.
Whether you’re urgently in need of a mental health break, or looking to achieve balance in your life for over-all wellness, the following are ways in which travel can have a positive effect on your well-being.
The Role Travel Plays in Overall Wellness
How your brain is wired affects your creativity, and you get a special boost when you go on vacation – a boost which lasts long after you’ve returned home.
Our brains are sensitive to change, so exposure to new environments or experiences while traveling can strengthen your mental health, as it lets you exercise those mental muscles that may have lay dormant during periods of monotony.
It’s been scientifically proven that travel changes the way your neural pathways connect. New experiences prompt new thoughts, feelings, and even ideas, leading to enhanced creativity.
Because there’s nothing stale or unimaginative about travel. It’s a completely different experience to journey to the Pyramids of Giza than to watch it on a History Channel documentary. It’s a completely different emotion to watch the sun set over the African Plains while on safari than it is to see someone else’s photo and think “wow!”
Furthermore, creative activities are known to combat depression, so if you’re feeling stuck in life, or tired of your current situation, it’s sometimes best to get away. A vacation may sound like you are running from your problems, but the truth is quite the opposite.
Shapes Your Personality
Part of the adventure of traveling to a different country is that you’re often forced to make changes in order to adapt to the differences. You’re forced to step outside your comfort zone, to open your mind, think outside the box, and embrace curiosity.
The lessons you learn from travel are many, and all of these experiences play their part in shaping your personality.
You’ll learn to be more accepting of all people and opinions. You’ll become independent and learn how to survive by yourself. You’ll learn that strange cultures should be explored and not judged, and you’ll learn new skills.
Travel teaches you humility, and will open your eyes to how large the world truly is, and how many people co-exist on this earth. We’re one of 7 BILLION people, and this much needed reality check will keep you grounded.
Ultimately, travel will shape you into a well rounded person. The cumulative experiences will teach you openness (to new experiences), extraversion, humility, compassion, courageousness, and, more importantly, authenticity; a character trait that allows you to be your real and true self.
Most people have schedules that don’t change that often, so it’s not surprising to feel like life is stuck on repeat. People talk of the hamster wheel, of monotony; but travel offers an escape from this.
Traveling offers a real escape from the stresses of everyday life, and is just as good a solution to stress as attending Well Beings Counselling. Even short holidays can contribute to stress relief, decreasing your feelings of burnout by putting some space between the sources of your daily anxiety.
So, if you’re constantly frustrated that you don’t have time to get away, maybe reshape your thinking and aim for a short weekend break. Even if you go for an overnight staycation in your own city, this can significantly alter your mood.
Ultimately, travel reduces stress because you’re removing yourself from your daily routine, and a hotel in the city just might do that for you if you can’t get away for multiple weeks.
When you’re feeling alive from a boost of creativity, can feel yourself growing as a person, and have removed yourself from the source of stress and anxiety, what’s left might be an odd feeling – it’s called happiness!
Travelling not only impacts your happiness during a trip, but can be felt even before you travel. The mere anticipation of going on a vacation can dramatically lift your mood, putting you in a very different frame of mind than if you were only looking forward to another long day at the office.
Studies have shown people are at their happiest when they have a vacation planned, because they expect to have a positive experience. The same research also found that having a vacation planned can lead to a more positive outlook on your health, economic situation, and general quality of life.
There is an immense amount of power in having something to look forward to when it comes to balancing your mental health in everyday life.
When travelling with your partner, friends, or family, the quality time together brings you closer, and strengthens your relationship/s. This then has a knock-on effect on your self-esteem and well being.
Positive Health Impacts
Beyond being less likely to suffer from depression or become tense or tired, travel often helps you stay on track with your fitness, and has many positive impacts on your physical health.
Because more often than not, when you’re out on an adventure, you don’t even realize you’re exercising! Or, at the very least, you’re highly motivated by the challenge and don’t mind the burn for the reward!
Active travel adventures could mean hiking the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu, diving in the Great Barrier Reef, trekking in search of mountain gorillas in Uganda, or it could mean heading to India for a yoga retreat.
But even on vacations that aren’t necessarily fitness orientated, or considered active travel adventures, you’re still likely to be moving around a lot more frequently than you normally would behind a desk at home.