Travel Can Be the Mental Reprieve You’ve Been Searching For
The demands of work and life in general leave many of us feeling like we are stuck in a rut. We know that we are doing what we are supposed to, but too often we find that we aren’t doing what we want to, at least not frequently enough to make us happy. There is a fine line between healthy ambition and unhealthy obsession with work. If you find that you perpetually leave your travel days unused, it is high-time that you hit the road for a well-deserved vacation.
The Mental Health Benefits of Travel
There are several ways which travel can serve as a mental boost, especially for someone who finds themselves entrenched in an unbroken routine. Whether it is routine of thought, motion, or both, travel can be a healthy disruption from a repetitive life.
World of Psychology notes some particular ways which travel benefits our mental health. Our creativity is directly linked to the wiring of our brain, and a new environment can help rewire our cranium for the better. Truly immersing yourself in the culture and on-goings of your travel destination will provide fresh perspective, opening your mind to alternative ways of life. This will not only work parts of your brain that may have been dormant, it can help provide new perspective on your own life.
If you choose to travel to a foreign land, you may find yourself overcoming some obstacles you would otherwise not be facing. Attempting to learn a new language and engaging in challenges related to the foreign culture can be daunting at first. If you take them head-on, however, the American Psychological Association tells us that a person will likely see improvements in extraversion and openness in the long-term.
Travel is also a stress reliever. It has been shown to lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol, particularly if your vacation involves activity in the outdoors. For those who are in recovery from addiction, travel is encouraged. Goalcast explains five reasons why travel is good for those in recovery, including time for self-reflection, new, stimulating activities to keep your brain occupied, and the potential for a fresh perspective on life and its challenges. Recovering addicts must explore the many sober travel options to make an excursion a responsible one, but addiction’s global reach means these services are abundant.
Traveling also serves as a potent, natural mood elevator. A study showed that groups who traveled were happier with their family, economic situation, and self-perception of health than those who did not travel. These feelings of well being were experienced even before leaving for the trip, showing that anticipation of a trip has mental health benefits on its own. Bringing your pet along with you, especially on trips that will be heavy on outdoor activity, can be yet another way to enhance the experience.
Why are you wasting your travel days while toiling away at the office? You probably don’t have a good enough answer for the part of your brain screaming ‘let’s get the heck out of here for a while!’. Listen to that voice in your head, as travel is the perfect way to recharge your mental batteries. Stress relief, enhanced creativity, and a better mood are three of the many benefits that travel provides, and let’s be honest, all of us could use some more of that good juju in our lives.
Written by guest blogger, Henry Moore, of Fit Well Traveler.