How ‘Travel therapy’ Can Help Your Mental Health And Wellbeing
With the pandemic far from over, now may not be the right time for leisure travel. But that doesn’t mean trip planning is canceled too. Some good news for globe-trotters: According to researchers, looking ahead to your next adventure could benefit your mental health even if you’re unsure when that adventure will be.
Traveling for pleasure can contribute to subjective well-being because people have more opportunities to detach from their work environment, to experience new things, and control what they want to do during vacations. There’s ample research to support that positive travel experiences can make people healthier, strengthen their relationships, and benefit their overall wellness. There are numerous benefits for your mind and body, aside from seeing new sights and experiencing different areas.
Helps you connect
Travel allows you to try new things and meet new people, helping you combat monotony. Travel connects people and provides opportunities to learn about new and different cultures, which can help increase your empathy towards others. It can also help improve your overall tolerance, reduce biases and even decrease frustration.
One of the biggest and most obvious benefits of travel for mental health is reducing stress. A literal escape from daily stress, including work and other responsibilities, has a calming, soothing effect and can decrease overall stress levels. Of course, less stress overall has a domino effect on other health factors. Being calmer improves sleep quality, keeps you in a better mood, sharpens your focus, boosts your immune system (which means you get sick less often!), and can even help you manage your weight.
Sunshine is a great stress-buster, giving you a dose of mood-boosting vitamin D and increasing the brain’s release of serotonin, the so-called ‘happy hormone’. Leaving work stress and the everyday routine behind in exchange for afternoon naps, leisurely walks, and the freedom to make your own schedule can do your mental health a world of good. Spending time away with friends and loved ones can add to the feel-good factor, while solo travel can refresh your sense of independence.
Exposing oneself to new cultures and experiences allows new ideas to flow within us. Traveling can help your mind switch between new ideas and think deeply. People who travel often can reflect on their unique experiences and have different worldviews. Introducing new cultures, making friends, and studying new languages and various types of food and music can help you appreciate and admire new settings and places.
It gives you a different perspective
Experiencing different cultures can open your eyes to new ways of living. Something as simple as learning a new recipe or changing the way you spend your downtime can dramatically affect your wellbeing. Travel can lead you to question and challenge the norms of everyday life at home, potentially inspiring you to make positive changes.
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