Staying or working in one place for long periods on end can have negative effects on the human mind. A slew of confusing emotions run you over when you live and work in one region for too long. But when you try to mingle with the crowd outside the confinement of your cubicle, you start feeling a void, a sense of despair.
The feeling of wanting to be heard, drowning in thoughts, seizing with anguish, wishing to get far away from civilization, and yet struggling to define the experience - mental health woes are deeply ingrained in today’s career-driven societies. But, what if we told you that there is a way out and it is hiding in plain sight?
Researches reveal that in the United States of America, every 1 in 5 (nearly 43.8 million) adults suffer from some form of mental illness and 1 in 25 (10 million) grown-ups suffer from chronic mental illness. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, and suicidal tendencies are prevalent in US and the rest of the world. If you are going through such tough times, remember you aren’t alone - there are several acclaimed celebrities that live to tell the tale of their struggles with mental trauma.
If you are feeling similar emotions but are unsure about the help bloggers can provide you with, we suggest you see a professional doctor. But, if you do wish to continue reading, you will learn how traveling can improve your mental health and help you reclaim your life from the clutches of monotony. We write here 20 ways traveling boosts your mental health.
20 Traveling Reduces Stress Levels
Traveling is the antidote to stress as visiting a new place can lift the load off your mind. Stress is a silent killer - it feeds on your health like a leech, dilutes your “happy hormones” and impacts your well-being. But going for a hike will make you feel as light as the air your breathe. Being away from deadlines, bosses, and bills will reduce the stress levels of your mind and soothe your senses.
A planned or unplanned vacation with your family or a hitchhike alone in the wilderness (provided it has no creatures with sharp teeth) will regulate your stress hormone “cortisol,” which in turn will ease your blood-sugar levels.
An American Psychological Association survey shows that traveling indeed mitigates stress. It found that nearly 80 percent of Americans are stress-free after traveling away from work for even a day or two.
So, leave your stress behind at home and go backpacking to that place you always wanted to see. Unburden your thoughts in the sanctum of nature or in the dense lair of concrete forests. Lose yourself in the enigma of the flora and fauna or in the cities and the strange cultures around you. Focus on the present, relax your mind, stop juggling your worries, and make the most of your traveling.
19 Traveling Spurs Your Creativity
A stress-free mind can also be a creative mind. And if you are creative, it may in turn mean that your mental health is just superb. The monotony of life and the targets at work can exhaust you. They can clog the flow of thoughts and ideas. Every job demands a certain amount of creativity; however, for the creative slice of our brains to function smoothly, it needs a break that only travel can truly give.
Creative geniuses reveal that traveling is what spurs their creativity. Visiting a new place, getting acquainted to a new culture, a new cuisine, and nature will aid innovative minds to produce unique ideas. Ever wondered why artists and writers travel so much? That’s mostly because they are looking for inspiration, which is exactly what taking a hike gives them.
Yes, if you are looking for inspiration in what you’re doing, traveling may lead you towards it. Draw a connection from the new place. You can even take inspiration from the people you meet at the new place. Giving an ear to their lives will bring home fresh ideas and help you to endure your own stress in a better, more meaningful way and thus improve your creativity.
18 Traveling Promotes a Sense of Happiness
We often compromise our happiness for material success, which is pretty counterproductive as it only kills the person and rises a corporate machine. Working tirelessly for the entire week will leave us with no time to revisit the hobbies that used to allure us in the past. True happiness is when you don’t have to sacrifice for worldly benefits.
How far you can go for the pursuit of happiness? Well, we suggest you get out of your city first; and, if you are wealthy enough, you may as well go backpacking abroad. Visit the places that you never been to, smell the aroma of the Earth in a foreign land, eat the cuisine you never tasted before, meet new faces, and exchange smiles and conversations.
Do all what you wanted to do before: bungee-jumping, skydiving, surfing, or just admiring the beauty of nature. Travel helps you improve your mental health when revisit your inner child and follow your heart. Don’t make your trip clumsy!
Studies show that the happiness one gets through travel is much greater than that through material pursuits and achievements. And you will carry this happiness throughout the journey of your life in the form of memories.
17 Traveling Reduces the Risk of Clinical Depression
The roots of clinical depression run deep. If it isn’t too much of an exaggeration, a person displaying the signs of depression always fails to understand the reason for the strange sadness that’s overcome them. Pain and the feeling of melancholy can be tough challenges, and you may have wondered the way out to ease depression. While psychologists say that a healthy and happy life can suppress depression, it would be quite an ironic response without the solution - traveling.
A journey to a new destination on the map can recharge the cells in your body and enhance quality of life. Panoramic views of mountains, forests, islands and beaches soothe the depressed soul and detach it from routine. Warmer places have proven to have a positive effect on the depression among people living in regions where the cold Siberian winds blow. Sun rays helps the skin secrete not just melanin, but also the body’s happy hormones.
Taking a break from mundane tasks and immersing in a new environment can work miracles in combating depression. A visit to a new place can generate enough energy and help in rebooting the body and the mind. And once your depression leaves you, you will return to your life as a new person with a renewed interest in life.
16 Traveling Defogs the Brain
Traveling to a unique destination will remove the proverbial fog that resides in your brain and give you clarity of thought. Hiking on a new trail can bring excitement and pump adrenaline, which will aid in more focused thoughts, thoughts about the present. The happens so because the body and the mind are trying to adapt to the new settings, throwing you out of your comfort zone and teaching itself new ways to tackle the difficulties.
Traveling can make you mentally resilient and emotionally tougher as the unfamiliar environment ignites your innate drive to survive by any means necessary. These new conditions suddenly start making more sense than the “real-world” setbacks as the mind believes that it must focus on the present if it has to survive.
The experiences of traveling will further help you to deal with your other troubles when you get back home to your work. It will make you more flexible, increase your emotional quotient, and make you tougher. The transformation one gets after traveling to a new place is phenomenal, according to Noma Nazish – a food, culture and wellness traveler.
Traveling also will increase patience. It will make you more responsible as you now are in control of everything you do.
15 Traveling Transforms Your Personality - discover the real “you”
Experts say traveling will help you discover the real “you”. By taking a hike, one becomes aware of what interests them, what makes them happy, and what they are good at. Doing things by your own and solving your problems by yourself renovate your personality. Your will be surprised by the hidden talents you discover everyday. Discovering the other side of you will astonish you throughout your travel.
A report by Zimmerman and Neyer says that gaining the ability to adapt to a new place will make a person emotionally less volatile in their personal sphere and work life. Meeting new people will reduce your social awkwardness and promote emotional stability, which you will need in your professional life.
Venturing into the unknown will shape your persona as it challenges your mental and emotional resolve, and help you introspect the circumstances and find a way to overcome them. By traveling, you will reinvent yourself, change your habits, re-evaluate your life, and find passion. The major transition you are looking for in life is not found in your cubicles, in your parties or in the vaults of your bank; rather, it is in the canopies in forests, the length of the mountains, and in vastness of the oceans.
14 Traveling Combats Negative Emotions
When your mind is clouded by negative emotions, you need to let it go. Traveling to a new place isn’t an escape from negativity that holds you back, it is rather a journey of self-discovery and finding the right weapons to defeat those emotions. A shift in place and environment will help you to manage the dark side of your emotions.
Anger, resentment, guilt and sorrow are some of the unsavory emotions that need to be allayed, and visiting a new land does exactly that. Embracing the new territory will strengthen you emotionally and reduce the darkness in your mind. It will change your view of life and also prevent you from ever resenting anyone.
Immersing yourself into the uncharted surroundings can help you defeat the negativity and regain the control over your emotions. Make contact with new people, explore the ends of the region, let the mountains echo your laughter and live your life to the fullest.
Scientists claim that laughter reduces stress hormones, generates endorphins and transforms emotional health; and we couldn’t agree more. Watch your negative emotions evaporate as you relax your body and mind amid nature. Escape from the world of negativity to a place of life. Plan a trip to your favorite destination, one or twenty, today.
13 Traveling Helps You Comprehend the True Essence of Life
Humans try to gather all the material pleasures of the world, such as bigger houses, wider cars, more money than they could ever need, and more. However, the fact is that over the course of life, we all will realize that those things fade with time. Losing the temptation for such pleasures, one will recall the memories that gave them the utmost happiness. And travelling has an everlasting impact on life - when we look back, the happiness we got from our sojourns are the assets that will never leave us.
Traveling gives you a whiff of the true essence of life. Memories of the place you visited in your lifetime will excite you, bring you immense happiness and bring a smile to your face that everyone will admire.
Sharing with your friends and family the stories of the diverse culture, food, sceneries, people and climate you encountered during your travel will improve your mental health. Even the unfavorable incidents you face during your travel will make you strong, approachable, flexible and communicative in the real world.
People around you will notice the change in you and will want to know the secret behind your transformation, and you will love the attention, which will in turn boost your psychological well-being.
12 Traveling Reduces the Risk of Heart Problems
Stress is the prime reason for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, angina, strokes, heart defects, and other dysfunctions, and reflects poor mental health. Scientific studies reveal the need for vacation to reduce the risk of heart attacks by a huge margin. People who restrain from a travel break are 30% more likely to have heart attacks when compared to those who don’t.
People who travel are more active when compared to the ones that works in the confinements of their home or office. Travelers are said to be the happiest as they walk amid nature. They hike miles and before getting lost in the beautiful outdoors. Travelers tend to participate in physical activities such as hiking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, trekking and more, which further boosts their mental and physical health.
The World Heart Federation states that mild physical activities will lower risk of heart attack by 30% to 50 %. Men who didn’t travel for seven years, and women who didn’t take a trip break for six years suffered more heart attacks, myocardial infarction and coronary death than those who did.
You see, science and nature want you to travel, and you now have more than one reason to do that. Get on board for your holiday trip.
11 Traveling Sharpens Your Mind
Repeating an activity everyday can make the brain lose its edge. Believe it or not but attending the office and performing the trite tasks doesn’t fire up your neurons as your brain already knows the drill and needs little chemical effort to get the task done. If you identified the sarcasm and its point, you can intuitively say that taking the off-beaten path, such as traveling to a different place, meeting new people, feeling a different atmosphere, learning an alien culture and such triggers the brain’s neurons’ chemical potential, which in turn produces fresh thoughts, creating new networks of information.
What we said may sound like pep talk. But it actually takes some extra effort than simply visiting a new place. You need to, throughout the course of travel, feed your brain with new information to fire up it. For instance, instead of using your phone’s GPS, try deciphering the local map of the place you visit, pay attention to the intonations of the regional language, and attempt to name the food recipes by its aroma. This will keep your brain cells fully charged and active.
Travel is a great way to illuminate your mind, and its effect will be forever. This is based on what little the scientific community understands about neurodegenerative diseases; but, as you grow old, the memories of the places you visited in your past will help your brain offer resistance against these degenerative diseases at a cellular level.
Throughout your travel you will encounter with novel stimuli, which will further keep your mind young and improve your focus and memory. You will be full of life after your travel. Moreover, you will shine at your office work, too, and your personal life will be more joyful. The work that you have been putting off will be back on wheels and those half-baked ideas will finally become cake.
10 Traveling Reinforces Personal Relationships
Travel is the mantra that will strengthen your personal relationships and improve your mental health. Traveling, or even strolling, with a bunch of people closed to your heart and making impressions with the favorite people is invaluable. And if you in love, traveling with your better half will bring you together and allow you to speak your hearts out, understand each other and the depths of the relationship.
A survey on this shows that people in pairs who travel together are happier when compared to those that don’t. These couples have better understanding of each other’s choices, personalities, and communication. Studies also found that parents and their children who travel together stay together and share a relationship that transcends generations.
A research on the effects of travel on personal life reveals that backpacking reduces the chances of divorce among couples, improves lifestyles, and reinforces personal relationships. This has to do with the fact that sharing unique experiences together creates better understanding among people.
Plan a holiday with your loved ones and make all the three generations in your family happy. Trust us, after this trip, your family will grow to love you deeper. And a happy family is your best bet for boosting your psychological health.
9 Traveling Builds Empathy
Traveling to a location to meet a diverse group of people can change your perceptions and instill a deeper sense of empathy - the ability to put yourself in people’s shoes - in you. This way, you will make new friends and acquaintances. The fond memories you build with those people will stay with you for the rest of your life. You will cherish those moments spent with them and recall them with your progeny. You will remember every detail of your travel and every conversation you had with your friends.
Breaking the ice and interacting with the strangers will earn you the people’s skills. Later, you will master and implement these tactics at your work. Sharing experiences, getting to know each other, and finding a common ground will make your travel more interesting. When you go home, empathizing and connecting with people will come naturally to you.
The experience you have with people during the travel will further be useful not only at work but also in personal life. You won’t hesitate to begin a conversation or listen to people or build new relationships. After this, you may even get comfortable at the awkward family reunions and can become the highlight of the meeting.
Empathy is afterall the sign of a healthy mind.
8 Traveling Elevates Confidence
Confidence is an important measure of mental health and well-being. The self-discovery that comes with traveling will heighten your confidence. Visiting a new place can encourage you to evaluate yourself. You will laugh at your decisions and sometimes applaud - there is always room for correction and nearly no judgement, unlike at your workplace
When you travel a few more times to the same place and encounter the same unusual circumstances, you start adapting to them and overcome the setbacks, which ultimately boosts your confidence.
At the end of the trail, you will discover yourself, who you really are. We may be blowing it out of proportions, but this entire journey will be no less than a mystery-thriller of which you are both the hero and the antagonist. The journey help you to develop a high self-esteem in you.
If you are traveling with your family members and you happen to be the one who initiated the trip, then you can take up the responsibility for all the decision-making. You may feel anxious in the beginning, but will feel much more confident as the trip progresses. Looking for the places to visit, food to eat, and adventures will fuel your spirits.
If you ever had nervous jitters while taking a decision in your office and as a result have slipped in and out of anxiety issues, then taking that trip, implementing all our suggestions, and making it back from the journey will lift your confidence and help you function better in your office. If you do it right, you may win that leadership role you have always coveted!
7 Traveling Improves Adaptability
Late Stephen Hawking said that intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. We add that the mind’s “adaptability quotient”, if you may, also reflects psychological well-being.
Our daily activities hardly challenge us to think out of the box. We work within our comfort zones and hardly get out of our shells. When it comes to traveling, you will face unfamiliar situations that will challenge your ability to think and act differently. Especially, when you hitchhike to a new location, the language of the region may act as a barrier. Here, you may have to use your skills of gestures and persuasion to get your work done.
While traveling, you need to adapt to the new culture, lifestyle, act smartly, be flexible, and be rigid (to keep up your guard). The travel will make you malleable to handle any change in the environment and situations, which might also help you in your daily life and work. You will become more optimistic and be smart enough to handle the challenges single-handedly.
Adapting to change will make you emotionally less reactive to your everyday life. At travel, when things go south, you will still have patience to make them right, or adapt to the inevitable. You will question the circumstances and find valid reasons to act on or evolve. Later, when you come back to your life, you will have fewer complaints and a better mental setup.
6 Traveling Heals Emotions
They say traveling has a healing effect on people with issues such as depression. Through our travels, we think that couldn’t be any closer to the truth. It is a remedy for emotional and physical well-being.
Whether you had a heart break, feel betrayed, lost money in business, or, in the worst case, lost a loved one, traveling will give you a chance to heal the deepest of the wounds without leaving a scar. It helps you to overcome a tragic chapter of your life, reinvent yourself, find a purpose, live with the memories, and be happy.
Traveling is the natural counselor who does the job without asking questions and without digging your past. It will soothe your soul and give you renewed hope in life. Visiting a new place, meeting new people, sipping the vastness of the nature, eating different food and breathing fresh air will illuminate your life and give it a new direction. When you listen to new stories, sorrows, struggles and achievements, you will be able to deal with personal loss better. You will find a new meaning in life.
Traveling will open new doors in your life. It will bring you pure bliss and detox your mind and body. You will become healthier and happier, and will remember the trip as a life-changer.
5 Traveling Broadens your Perspective
Studies state that traveling to a different country will expand a person’s knowledge and perspective. Travelers develop new skills and values abroad. Moving out of the comfort zone, to a whole new region, will make you understand the other bands of the spectrum. Being in a completely new place will help you to learn about the traditions, cultures, languages, cuisines and, most importantly, people.
We face the reality of life that we may have just taken for granted in own own cocoon. Traveling gives you the opportunity to experience things that you have only read in magazines and blogs. You can check for yourself and see if what you read in the books coincides with even a part of the reality. Remember, opinions and presumptions need not to be inclined to actuality.
When you visit a new place, the problems of your life (may) start seeming smaller and the happiness in your world will feel incomplete when compared to the scale of the experience at the abroad destination. Researchers also opine that traveling abroad makes a person open for communications and creates trust between people. The world is beyond your books and maps (LOTR reference); the real world is out there. Traveling abroad may make you nervous, at least it did to some of us, but if you stay strong and try to cope up, the ending will be happy and beautiful.
4 Traveling Enlightens Youthfulness
The worldly pressures, deadlines and tensions a person faces ages them faster and makes them appear older than their true biological age. Regardless of your age, looking youthful and fit is a sign of great mental health.
Travel is the serum for youthfulness, a fountain of youth, an antidote to aging. Even doctors suggest people take regular trips to better their physical and mental health, including slowing the aging process. People who travel are less prone to diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
You may have noticed that a few of the elderly people who go out for vacations are more active than a few of the younger lot who remain in their cubicles. They solve their personal problems more effective when compared to others. Experiencing new things and engaging with new people will bring back your youthfulness and slow your aging process, regardless of your actual age.
Relieving the self from worries, treading the off-beaten path, playing a sport, examining the jagged hills, and breathing the breeze from the ocean are examples of the experiences you can have during travel to restore your youthfulness. Of course, you need to travel regularly.
Surprise your partner, call for a friends’ reunion or go on a solo trip; it’s never too late to start. This is the time to cross off your travel goals on your bucket list. Take on the adventures, challenge your inner fears, explore the world, and channel the younger self.
3 Traveling Boosts your Moods
Mood is an emotional state that is ever-fluctuating with circumstances or state of the body and mind. It is intense and more likely to change every few hours or days. Isolation is the worst nightmare one can have. Even introverts would hate solitude for a prolonged period. Being alone all the time can lead to depression. Likewise, being in the same group of friends who knows or interprets your personality easily can be boring.
How about getting outside and meeting a person who knows nothing about you? Traveling is a medium to connect with other part of the world that you may be unaware of. You can build deeper connections and experiences.
Traveling helps the body to secrete endorphins, which prevents fatigue and crankiness. For women who think that traveling worsens PMS, our female travel-writers claim that physical activities while traveling actually relieves cramps and bloating.
Swing into the lullaby of the nature, dab your feet on the wet sand, smell the fragrance of the weather, play the music of your heart, dance to the melody of birds chirps, gaze the inky-dark sky and wink at the twinkling stars. Girls, get on the high heels or your travel sneakers and backpack to your favorite place.
2 Traveling Enhances Emotional Agility
Traveling enhances emotional agility – the ability to handle the situations in the best way. It makes you not to react immediately, but comprehend the situation and manage it effectively. While traveling, you will come across diverse situations, which demands appropriate verbal and nonverbal emotional cues.
Immersing into different cultures establishes a deeper emotional bond, which will last even after the journey. Spending time at new places will make you tolerant wherein you will manage your discomfort and show positivity in the highly ambiguous situations.
On your travel, when you get stuck into challenges you will embrace the situation and thrive to get over it. The same attitude will help you when you go back to your work and personal life in managing deadly tasks. This will help you to lead at your workplace and succeed at your job. Your mind will be open for self-acceptance and clear-sightedness in critical situations and enforce the true notion of happiness into your life.
Backpacking not only enhances physical flexibility but also improves flexibility of thought. It will help you choose the optimal way to respond to challenges. You will embark your life’s journey, stay calm during the twists and turns that happen in life.
1 Traveling Makes you Happier
Sounds obvious, right? A survey by Psychological Science reveals that for most people, even the anticipation of an impending holiday gives immense happiness. Happier the soul, happier the mind; and it gives more happiness than buying tangible assets can. Taking a break from the daily chores and traveling rejuvenates the soul, charges the brain cells, and spurs the happy hormones.
You don’t feel like relaxing, and even the body starts liking the ache. The radiant golden light from the Sun, the smiles you receive from the passerby, the crowded streets, the dense forest, deep seas, and the spell of weather will drive you crazy.
The self-discovery, the late night hangouts, the early-morning trek, the meals, chilled water, breezy winds will make you content. Realizing money can’t buy you happiness (although it can buy you the ticket to happiness), appreciating the beauty of nature, learning the new cultures, handling the toughest situations, and detoxing from social media gives you more joy.
Traveling gives you the feeling of being alive and give you experiences that you will remember for a lifetime. Even after ages, the effects of your trip will make you feel content, happy and relaxed. Pack your bags, go for a long trip, and boost your mental health.