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The Mental Health Benefits of Traveling

Did you know that traveling can actually boost your mental health?  Psychological studies have shown that people who travel periodically enjoy such benefits as reduced stress, self-confidence, and even mental and physical resilience! Even, we know traveling cost money, but by using some travel hacks we can reduce it. In this article, we will explore […]

The Mental Health Benefits of Traveling

Did you know that traveling can actually boost your mental health?  Psychological studies have shown that people who travel periodically enjoy such benefits as reduced stress, self-confidence, and even mental and physical resilience! Even, we know traveling cost money, but by using some travel hacks we can reduce it. In this article, we will explore how traveling frequently can have beneficial effects on our minds, and even on our bodies!

The Psychological Significance of Explorative Behavior

A clinical study into the behavior of chimpanzees with varying degrees of emotional attachments with their caretakers showed a correlation between positive emotional attachments with their caretakers and confidence resulting in increased explorative behavior.  The study showed that chimpanzees with caretakers who merely fed them were low in self-confidence, physical activity, and high in depression.  These chimpanzees often would find an area (like a corner) and stay in that area.  On the other hand, chimpanzees with caretakers who not only fed them, but also comforted them, were more trusting of the environment, and they explored their environment with a real, “the world is my oyster” mentality. Traveling is a great exercise for the brain.

It is important to note that people who have healthy, positive relationships with their parents (or caretakers), often not only have higher self-confidence than people who don’t, but they also trust their environments; they not only believe in themselves, they also have a positive view of the world they live in.  On the other hand, people who don’t have healthy relationships with their parents or caretakers, who suffered chronic emotional neglect and even abuse as children, not only have low self-confidence, but they also don’t trust their respective environments; they see the world as a negative, scary place.  Like the chimpanzees who were only fed and not emotionally cared for, they may retreat to a small corner of the world, and stay there, refusing to venture out and explore the horizon. 

Humans Need Stress: Say what?

Medical doctors have long-since known that humans need bacteria to help our bodies learn to react to the bacteria, making our immune systems stronger (hence the flu shot).  Like the bacteria, humans actually need some level of stress because it helps them to learn healthy ways of coping with the stress (while learning new skills), which makes them more resilient to stress in the future!  This not only process not only teaches humans how to relieve stress, but it also gives them greater self-efficacy.  These are the sort of people who can move to another state (or in some cases, another country!), land a great job, and essentially take life by the horns.  Travel is stressful, but as one navigates the challenges of logistics and physical and distance, they may learn things about themselves.  It must be said that people who travel more also tend to have a richer social life, which is also beneficial to mental health.                                                    

Conclusion

Traveling can be a difficult task. Taking a job in another state (or even another country) can be a scary proposition.  People who travel frequently will initially experience stress (such as the fear of the unknown) but will experience personal growth and confidence with the successful completion of each journey.  This personal growth is very beneficial to one’s mental health.  As a general rule, what’s good for the mind is good for the body.  Traveling may make us more resilient to stress, which may benefit us not only mentally, but physically as well. 

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