Travel is good for many things, but it can actually increase mental well-being and not just in the short-term. Whether you’re traveling for a gap year, on a summer holiday, or have sold everything you own to pursue a life on the road; travelling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories, breaking routine and allowing you to meet people from all over the world. Here, I have done a little research and found what we think are the top 5 health benefits that travel can cause.
1. Travel can boost mental health and relieves stress
Expanding on the point previously mentioned regarding how travel can promote positive mental health and keep your mind sharp; when you travel, you interact with novel stimuli in the form of new people, cultures, situations, and experiences, which can contribute to the delayed onset of degenerative disease. I would say that stress reduction is one of the most important benefits of travel, taking yourself out of your daily routines and into new surroundings resets both your mind and body, resulting in significant stress relief. Having something to look forward to, even if it’s a two-day trip, can feel rewarding. Travellers are likely to experience less stress and more satisfaction with their overall mood and outlook after returning from a trip compared to non-travellers.
2. Travel helps to enhance creativity
When researching how travel can benefit your health, I came across this study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which found a strong link between creativity and travellers’ immersions into cultures different from their own. According to the study, the better you are at adapting and engaging in new cultures, the more creative and professionally successful you will be. In order to actually enhance creativity, the author emphases the importance of immersing yourself in new cultures, rather than simply changing your physical location.
3. Travel enables you to shifts your perspective
When travelling you may often find yourself in situations that you wouldn’t be in otherwise. You are faced with the reality of living outside your comfort zone, which, as uncomfortable as it is, gives you the opportunity to transform how you see things. Travelling enables you to broaden your perspectives, not only of the world but also of yourself. The cliché that people often “find themselves” when travelling started as they are able to view their problems from a more detached view. Being able to see firsthand how other people live and absorb yourself in their culture can force you to challenge your own assumptions and broaden your mind to experience alternative ways of being.
4. Travel helps increase connections to others and self
Travelling can offer many opportunities to meet new people that you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to connect with. When you are outside of your comfort zone in a different country, you may have to look to others for guidance, which can create a sense of connectedness. Whether you obtain this connection by engaging with the locals, other travellers, or even those you are travelling with, making social connections, or deepening the ones you already have, can enhance your sense of self, help strengthen your personal identity and increase your confidence. A specific way travel could increase connections to yourself would be that even if you plan your trip to the letter, things can always take an unexpected turn. Knowing that whatever happens, there is a way around the problem and that you can deal with these situations is a big boost to self-confidence and therefore your happiness.
5. Travel allows you to get some ‘you’ time
Sometimes the reasons people travel would be to get some breathing space that is so often lost in our usual day-to-day life. Having a moment to take advantage of some well-deserved peace and quiet and to simply ‘be’ allows us to let go of stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment. This is a key focus in mindfulness and meditation and a practice you can take home with you
Overall, travel leaves us with memories, personal skills such as confidence, broad-mindedness, friends and a worldlier perspective. All key ingredients that make people happy and fundamentally, why travel is good for the soul.
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