Whether it’s a need to get away for a couple of days, to relax and unwind, to seek adventure in the most exciting natural environments, to explore different cultures, to get over a bad breakup, or to get some fun in the sun, we all associate travel with positive emotions. Do you know travel is good for your mental health?
No wonder then, that most people’s bucket lists include visiting different places around the globe. As much as travel does wonders to our physical wellbeing, it is even more beneficial to our mental and emotional health.
As the significant amount of scientific research suggests, there are numerous ways in which exploring a new place can help us improve some of the most important factors for achieving great mental health. The following list details five of the most significant benefits of travel to our mental wellbeing.
You Get to Know Yourself (& Others) Better
While travelling, you are inevitably going to experience circumstances that are very different from those you are used to in your daily life. Even if you are not travelling alone, chances are you are going to face some less known traits of your personality, as well as that of people you are travelling with.
As you come across unusual scenarios, and react to those, you are going to be able to learn about some less known aspects of yourself. For example, if you get lost in a foreign city, you will be able to find out how you handle stressful situations, or to overcome your shyness when talking to strangers in a foreign language.
Whatever the case, travelling can help you to gain a clearer insight into your personality. What’s more, as you experience new things and learn new lessons, your entire perspective on life in general will shift. This will make you more open-minded and willing to question your beliefs and attitudes.
You Reconnect With Nature
There is nothing better for your mind and body than to enjoy the relaxing time exploring new, beautiful natural scenery. It is widely known that spending time in nature, particularly in the sun, provides numerous health benefits. The exposure to sunlight restores our serotonin levels, which result in a more happy and optimistic mindset.
Overall, being in nature improves both our physical and mental wellbeing. Our bodies get more fresh air and vitamin D from the sun, whereas on a spiritual level, we become more grounded, relaxed, calm, and more focused on the beautiful and positive aspects of life.
If your spiritual practice needs an additional boost through connecting with nature, a trip to some of the most beautiful nature and eco resorts can just be what you need. Set up a mindful practice at the scenic, quiet beaches of Alvor in Portugal, or explore your connection to some of the most beautiful species of animal and plant life on Alphonse Island in the Seychelles.
You Become More Creative
Travel boosts our creativity. According to a study, immersing ourselves in different culture implies adopting a new, more broadened perspective on life in general, which in turn affects how we solve problems and improves productivity and imagination. Our mind is creative by nature.
Yet, if we don’t feed it with newness needed to come up with ideas, it is most likely that we will achieve creative blockage sooner or later. Taking trips to new and exciting places is one of the ways to spark up our creativity. You’ll notice the difference each time you come back in terms of your increased productivity and better resourcefulness both in your work and private life.
Your Stress Levels Decrease
Probably the number one reason people travel is to fight the stress. In this day and age when we are all running on immense amounts of stress, it is more prominent than ever. Planning and going on a trip is one of the most anticipated events in our busy lives since it means we are leaving all everyday worries behind at least for a little while.
According to a 2013 study, the risk of stress and stress-induced diseases are immensely decreased after each trip, no matter how long. While you are travelling, both your mind and body are relaxed. The stress relief reflects in your lowered heart rate, and the ability of your mind to clear all of the limiting negative thoughts that are causing stress.
Your Mental Resilience Increases
Finally, travel can significantly improve your emotional and mental strength. This is especially evident nowadays when so many people decide to quit their careers to become full-time travellers. For each of them, the most important lesson travelling teaches is that only by leaving the familiar behind can you truly master mental and emotional resilience.
Even if you don’t plan on travelling all the time, you have probably encountered situations while on a trip that were out of your comfort zone. In these moments you were forced to accept the fact that you can’t and shouldn’t control everything. Also, travelling teaches you to become more resistant to stressful and unfamiliar situations and you start to rely on yourself more.
Becca is a translator and interpreter, living the digital nomad life and enjoying it to the fullest. She has recently ventured into the world of writing, and is trying to convey some of her experiences through her posts. Currently living in Prague, she is planning on moving somewhere more north for Christmas. You can read her blog at roughdraft.eu.