Traveling can have a profound effect on the mind. People who start traveling extensively often wind up being some of the most well-rounded, tolerant, and mentally sound individuals. Whether by car, plane, boat or by hitchhiking, hopping trains or simply wandering, traveling appeals to the core of human spirit, that yearning for adventure inside of each and every one of us. Scratching that inherent itch is, for some, a step on the path of achieving inner peace. Regardless of how much you value traveling, the following are 5 ways travel can improve your mental health.
1. Meeting New People
While on the road and visiting new places, you will, undoubtedly, meet a lot of new people along the way. Socialization is one of the best courses of treating mental ailments like stress and depression. Not only will you be able to socialize and interact with many different people, but the various lifestyles and cultures you will experience are also beneficial to your mental health. You will grow more tolerant and understanding, as well as develop a friendly and welcoming demeanor to all kinds of people.
2. Boosting Creativity
We all know how creativity works wonders on mental health. Artistic and creative endeavors help relieve stress and allow us to express our thoughts and emotions in a healthy, constructive manner. Traveling boosts creativity by subjecting you to many different, new and exciting sights and experiences to express. Release your inner Jack Kerouac, by traveling and giving yourself the story of a lifetime on the road.
3. Putting Things in Perspective
As you travel and explore different places with different necessities and ways of life from what you may be used to, you will begin to put your own life into a different perspective, viewing your problems and woes under a new light. Putting things in perspective helps with depressing thoughts, stress, and worry, which all have a negative impact on your mental health. Visiting places of natural beauty and wonder like the Appalachian Trail or Thanksgiving Point will cause you to appreciate even the smallest aspects of life.
4. Building Resilience
Traveling and living in different places will help make your mind more resilient against harmful things like stress and anxiety. Surviving somewhere new and intimidating will help toughen up your mental states and train your mind to bounce back from periods of strenuous mental exertion. Facing new environments around new and unfamiliar people will also teach you how to adapt and solve problems, which is like lifting weights for your brain. Traveling can turn anxious and impatient people into accepting and adaptive survivors.
5. Promoting Happiness
Traveling, in a sense, reactivates the reward centers of our minds. By disrupting the routine of daily life and introducing a feeling of novelty to your brain, travel greatly improves cognition and helps release serotonin, the chemical in the brain that makes us feel happy. Furthermore, cognitive flexibility is vital to achieving happiness in life. We’ve all heard the quote: “there is no light without darkness.” When we travel and experience different feelings associating with our journeys, we tend to appreciate our comfort and the smaller parts of life a lot more, which leads to happiness.
Traveling helps us grow and develop as people and benefits our mental health in a variety of different ways. In addition to giving you countless stories to tell your children and grandchildren, traveling will improve your cognition, mental flexibility, and appreciation for your daily life. Experiencing different places and cultures will help open your mind to unfamiliar lifestyles and perspectives, making you a more well-rounded, mentally healthier human being.