Travel is ideal for our mental health helping us combat boredom, depression, anxiety, and addiction.
That’s not just our opinion. It’s the verdict of numerous science-based studies on the topic. So, whether you’re in need of a quick mental makeover or a clean, fresh start on your entire life, give some thought to seeing the world—or at least a small corner of it. Read on to learn more about this timely topic.
Why Travel Helps the Mind?
Fear is the basis of many forms of mental illness, according to Psychology Today magazine. To understand why, consider that each of us has a built-in emergency response. Historically, this biological mechanism has served us well. Imagine you’re a cave dweller roaming the earth a few thousand years ago, when you spot a hungry tiger sizing you up. Your body tenses, your senses become acute, and you feel a surge of energy in your limbs.
Without this reaction, you would stay in one spot and let the tiger turn you into a midday snack. That kind of casual acceptance of death may appeal to a Zen master, but it offers little help to those whose goal is to live as long as possible.
You can see why fear of danger offers many practical benefits. But, like anything else, a healthy fear becomes unhealthy when it’s overdone. When this happens, your brain sees threats lurking behind every corner. You feel like your nervous system is stuck in overdrive, and you become distrustful of other people, even those who bear you no ill will.
This is where the mental health benefits of travel come into the picture. People who take the time to explore other lands and other cultures display enhanced openness to new experiences. This means that the simple act of stepping outside your usual surroundings helps you to face every aspect of your life with more confidence. You do not have to travel far though to experience these benefits.
Openness to experience is far from the only benefit that comes from travel. Other advantages include:
Travel improves the brain’s ability to form new connections and discover new insights. This quality can help you to uncover solutions to problems that once seemed unsolvable. By meeting new people and going to unfamiliar places, you’re also forced to try new things and make different types of decisions. Exposure to new cultures and situations may lead to you perceive things differently than at home. Unique things to do near you are happening all the time but you must be up for adventure.
Those who skip taking an annual vacation pay a steep price in terms of overall well-being, according to a study published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal. Going too long with no break or vacation increases tension, promotes depression, and aggravates negative emotions. Traveling takes us away from our regular routine and gives us some peace of mind. It also reduces stress and alleviates the symptoms of depression.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Want to avoid a heart attack? Then take a vacation. That’s the verdict of a research project sponsored by the University of Massachusetts that tracked a group of middle-aged men over a nine-year period. Researchers found that males who choose not to vacation are far more likely than their peers to experience heart-related medical problems. The choice is clear: Spend your leisure time on a beach or in a hospital. Which option sounds like more fun?
Improved Social Skills
When you’re traveling, you’re going to need to communicate with different kinds of people. Not only do you need language skills, but you’ll need social skills as well. You may even find that when you’re out of your regular environment, it actually becomes easier to be open and make friends or just give you confidence to find new things to do on your fall date.
Preparing for the Trip
Getting the most fun out of your travel adventure is easier when you make sure everything at home is in good order. So here are some essential steps to take before beginning your trip:
1. Suspend mail and newspaper delivery. Nothing makes it clearer that you’re not home than a mailbox overflowing with unopened envelopes.
2. Turn off the main water valve to your home if it will remain unoccupied while you’re gone. The last thing you need is to return home to a flooded house.
3. Hire a pet sitter to care for your four-legged family members. Are you a pup parent? If so, then arrange for a sitter to walk your dog on a regular basis. Make sure you have enough food and medicine for your pet.
4. Ask a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor to drop by on occasion to check things out. Ask this person to park a car in your driveway on occasion and to pick up any packages that have been delivered. Also make sure to leave your emergency contact information.
5. Leave a light on or invest in a motion-activated outdoor light. This acts as a great theft deterrent.
6. If you’re planning a longer trip, make sure the grass is cut, outdoor plants are watered, and your yard is taken care of while you’re gone. If necessary, arrange for a landscaper to come by.
7. Clean out your refrigerator. To make sure you don’t come home to spoiled food, you’re going to want to remove perishable items that will expire while you’re away.
8. Take out the trash. There’s nothing worse than arriving home from an enjoyable trip only to walk into a smelly kitchen.
9. Find events near me with Chillwall to maximize your experience.
Nothing promotes positive mental health like leisure travel. Additional benefits include improved physical health and social skills. So don’t put off that next vacation any longer. Pack your bags and get ready for a trip to a better life!
About Travis White
Travis White enjoys showing LearnFit to visitors and loves to cook restaurant-quality meals at home.