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REASONS TRAVEL IMPROVES YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Travel is so much more than exploring new places, sipping on margaritas on a sun-soaked beach, or trying delicious exotic foods.

Between figuring out public transport and meeting people from different walks of life, exploring a new destination can do wonders for your mental health.

And I’m not making this up.

There’s scientific research to back it up.

Here are seven reasons why travel makes your mind happy and healthy.

1. It Helps With Stress Relief

The biggest health benefit of travel? Stress relief.

Now, hear me out.

I know that probably sounds like a lie.

After all, what’s more stressful than trying to get your friends out of the group chat, coordinated, and onto the plane?

But once you’re in your seat and away from your daily routine, the anticipation builds, the dopamine floodgates burst open, and your mind finally has a chance to stop and relax.

Still don’t believe me?

Well, a study found that women who go on vacation at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress.

It’s akin to hitting the reset button.

Whether you’re lounging on a beach, exploring a bustling city, or hiking through serene forests, the change of scenery and pace can help reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone). 

Plus, engaging in activities you enjoy while traveling, such as swimming, hiking, or simply savoring a delicious local dish, can help reduce stress, promote mental well-being, and help your work drama fade into the background.

2. It Boosts Creativity

Here’s the thing about visiting new places.

You’re constantly exposed to novel experiences, cultures, and ideas.

This influx of new information stimulates your brain and encourages creative thinking. You might find yourself inspired to write, paint, or try your hand at photography simply because you’re in a different environment.

That’s not all.

Taking a break from your everyday hum-drum routine and comfort zone encourages your brain to think out of the box and look at the world differently.

Each time you figure out the right tram line for a destination or need to navigate a foreign language, you’re sharpening your problem-solving skills and boosting your creativity.

In fact, studies from 1989 and 2014 show that travel increases the number of ideas you have and gets you out of your routine way of thinking.

3. It Makes You Happier

Travel is a one-stop shop for releasing all those feel-good endorphins.

It’s the best kind of happiness all wrapped up in a plane ticket.

But it doesn’t start at your destination.

Research shows that planning and looking forward to a vacation can have a more significant positive impact on your mental well-being than the actual vacation itself.

And there’s more.

A 2020 study found that people who see more changes in scenery from day to day tend to be happier. Supporting the theory that there is a strong link between travel and happiness. 

4. It Improves Mental Resilience

Travel isn’t always smooth sailing.

No matter how much you plan, something will always derail your itinerary, even if it’s only a short detour.

While these unexpected plot twists and turns can feel stressful in the moment, it’s a blessing in disguise.

Travel teaches you to adapt, be resourceful, and find solutions, which are invaluable life skills.

Dealing with unfamiliar situations, like navigating public transportation in a foreign city or overcoming language barriers, boosts your mental resilience and self-confidence.

You gain a sense of accomplishment and feel more capable of handling challenges in all areas of your life.

5. It Increases Your Mindfulness

One of the top benefits of traveling? It forces you to practice being fully present.

When you’re in new surroundings, your attention stays on the moment. You’re absorbing all the new sounds, smells, and sights instead of worrying about the past or future.

It’s an incredibly grounding experience that helps your brain escape any negative loops.

Plus, the more you practice mindfulness during your travels, the easier it is to incorporate into your daily life when you get home, reducing anxiety and enhancing overall mental well-being.

6. It Can Improve Your Performance at Work

Got a bad case of burnout?

You’re not alone.

We’ve all been there.

Luckily, there’s a cure (and it tastes way better than cough syrup).

Travel!

According to Harvard Business Review, 94% of travelers had more energy and felt more productive after returning from a trip.

So book that trip, reset, and come back mentally fired up and ready to crush your work goals.

7. It Helps You Reinvent Yourself

The thing I love the most about travel is its ability to expand your horizons.

Exploring beyond your comfort zone (especially in a foreign country) helps you gain a different perspective on your problems and how you want to live your life.

As you come into contact with different cultures, it forces you to think about your own. You’re confronted with differences, and these experiences ask you to re-evaluate your principles and values and stretch your idea of what’s “normal.”

You can use this to give yourself a fresh start, especially when you’re going through a major transition in your life (like a breakup or recovering from a major illness).

Travel can help you gain self-confidence, give you purpose, and help you come back as a better version of yourself.

Start Planning Your Next Trip

Travel is more than an opportunity to collect passport stamps. It’s a powerful tool for improving your mental health and creating unforgettable memories.

That said, you don’t need to hop onto a plane and fly halfway across the world to reap its benefits.

Planning a weekend getaway or going on a day trip somewhere new in your state will have the same effect.

The exposure to new experiences will help reduce stress, increase your happiness, and give you soft skills to use in other areas of your life.

So what are you waiting for?

Embrace the unknown and go on an adventure!