Mental Health Benefits of Travel

Mental Health

Routine: the comfort zone of our everyday life. We all have a daily routine. We wake up, make coffee, let our dogs out, watch the news. Get dressed, brush your teeth, let your dog out one more time, and then head to work. We get in our cars, put on the same pandora station we always listen to while we mentally prepare ourselves for our workday. We get to work, accomplish the tasks for the day, clock out, get back in our cars to head home. Make dinner, work out or read a book and sleep. If you caught yourself nodding your head during any of these statements, you are probably in the same predicament as us. In need of a mental health weekend. The next thing you might be asking yourself is how traveling will help with my mental stress?

Stress Buster

Traveling for pleasure typically makes people happy. When you travel, you get to pick what YOU want to do with every minute of every hour of the day. Eat breakfast for lunch? Sure, why not! Sleep in till 11:00am? ABSOLUTELY! Chill by the pool, drinking margaritas, drunk by 2:00pm? Can we join? All of the things we wish we could do every day are accessible during your vacation.

Reinvent yourself

Sometimes traveling serves a purpose for reinvention. When you travel solo, with a friend, or with family, you get a feeling of reinvention. You start wondering about new jewelry and clothes you may not normally wear. You gain confidence to try fresh foods native to the area. It’s almost like a relationship that sucked you into hobbies that you didn’t actually enjoy. Then you break free and find yourself again. Traveling helps you find yourself, your soul, and your meaning for life.

Boosts happiness and satisfaction

Did you know disrupting your routine by traveling will help improve cognitive function and help activate the reward circuits in your brain? Basically, traveling keeps you on your toes, and your brain loves it! A study at Cornell University found that spending money on experiences and places will bring you lasting happiness rather than spending money on material things. Think of it in this sense: have you ever gone online, bought a new pair of leggings from your favorite athletic clothing company, and then realize to yourself that those same leggings are now the ones you are looking to give to your younger sibling or friend? That’s because we adapt to physical items. You can’t adapt to a memory of a trip.

Mentally resilient

You never know what to expect when traveling. When I traveled abroad to Spain, their toilets were literal holes in the ground. In the US, we have toilets that flush. This point may make you stressed about possibly traveling to a place without a sewer system, but thankfully, all of our resorts have outstanding restroom facilities. The Atlantic wrote an article about the benefits of keeping your brain on its toes, “the cognitive flexibility helps stimulate Neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to form and recognize synaptic connections).”

Enhances Creativity

When you have a creative block, most people will take a walk, a nap, exercise, take a drive to the beach—the common theme: distance from the task at hand. Traveling allows you to physically remove yourself from the problem to gain a new outlook or perspective. Kevin Kelly writes, “Travel is still the most intense mode of learning.” He isn’t wrong.

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