Staying healthy when stressed can be overwhelming. From family and work issues to commuting, daily chores, illnesses, home maintenance and plenty of other concerns, the grind of day-to-day life can pick away at your mental well-being.
If you ever feel stuck in life, or tired of your current situation, it’s sometimes best to get away. A vacation may sound at first like you are running from your problems, but the truth is quite the opposite.
For the reasons listed below, you may be surprised at the wonders a good holiday can do for your mental health.
7 Ways Travel Can Improve Your Mental Health
According to studies, the mental health benefits of traveling can be felt even before you walk out the door (if you or someone you know is struggling with mental issues, BetterHelp is a great resource).
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.
Creativity also gets a special boost when you go on vacation. 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 some of your mental muscles that may have lay dormant during periods of relative monotony.
A study reported in The Atlantic found that traveling changes the way your neural pathways connect. New experiences prompt new thoughts, feelings, and even ideas, leading to enhanced creativity.
The result may also include a positive impact on your mental health, as creative activities are known to combat depression.
Control Over Your Life
The level of organization involved with planning a vacation may seem daunting at first, but there are actually benefits to facing these challenges.
Overcoming the challenges of traveling leads to a feeling of independence and a sense of control to your life. Succeeding outside your comfort zone also builds resilience, helping you cope better in all kinds of situations.
Going abroad and achieving personal goals can make simple day-to-day activities back home much easier to handle. Spending time fending for yourself abroad (bargaining at the local market, hailing a taxi in a foreign language) can often lead to positive personal outcomes like greater confidence and freedom of control.
Once you’re home, you may find that the challenges you conquered overseas have improved your overall life satisfaction.
Traveling offers a real escape from the stresses of everyday life.
It has been demonstrated that taking a vacation can decrease work stress and feelings of burnout, by giving you some space and distance from the sources of your daily anxiety.
Even short holidays can contribute to stress relief, giving you a much-needed break and putting you in a more relaxed state. 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, and play tourist for a day, this can significantly alter your mood; it’s all about removing yourself from your daily routine, and a hotel in the city just might do that for you!
Traveling can also help create new friendships, and if you’re traveling with other people, it can strengthen the relationships you already have.
It can be much easier to approach, meet, and get to know strangers while in a new environment, in part because there are so many things to talk about. Whether through a tour group or a chance encounter, engaging with other tourists or locals can lead to meaningful interactions and friendships.
While traveling alone is always worthwhile, traveling with somebody else can be rewarding in its own way. Seeing a new part of the world is a unique experience, and sharing it with someone can make your bond with them that much stronger.
This effect is not exclusive to traveling with a partner; the same shared experience can be enjoyed with friends or family as well. Traveling lets you get closer to the people you care about most, building self-esteem and well-being as a result.
This may seem like the most obvious factor, but it should not be overlooked. Simply put: Traveling is fun, and we all need to have fun once in a while!
Exhaustion is a product of uninspiring routines, just as much as it is a product of hard work. Conversely, enjoyable experiences generally lead to a more deeper sense of happiness.
The kind of experiences gained while on a vacation can increase happiness much more than new possessions can.
Depending on your destination, traveling abroad can also provide you with access to high quality services at a much cheaper price than one would find in Western countries. This includes high-quality hotels and spas where you can relax, refresh, and relieve stress.
Nevertheless, while traveling may improve mental health in many aspects, getting professional help for serious issues is still the best option. You can of course to do both at the same time, but it’s important to understand that travel alone may not solve your problems.
For a focused approach to mental well-being, special treatment centers overseas can offer world-class services at better rates than are available back home. High-quality facilities in Asia, like The Dawn, a rehab in Thailand, offer excellent recovery services by trained and qualified professionals.
By attending these centers in a foreign country, you can get responsive care in a peaceful new environment, far from the original sources of your stress.
So, if the burdens of life are getting you down, consider treating yourself to an extended break. Life will go on at home, much as it always has – but your body and mind will thank you for getting some much-needed time away.
THESE BOOKS WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL! ↓