It’s one of those things that all of us look forward to, no matter what. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway to a nearby hill station, a weeklong trek to the mountains, a family holiday to some of Europe’s most quintessential towns or an unconventional trip to the far East.
Our bucket list may include a wide range of things, but traveling is something that is part of just about everyone’s bucket list and for a good reason indeed. Apart from the fact that we’re all curious to see what the world is all about, traveling also comes with its own set of benefits – the most important one being that it enhances our mental well-being 😊!
Think about it, how did you feel when you were back from your last vacation? Or better, during your last vacation? (since we all have those post-holiday blues once we’re back 😉).
No wonder every time someone’s stressed out, people often advise them on taking some time off to travel a bit. As the poet Rumi rightly said, “Travel brings power and love back into your life.” Sure, there are those little ouches and troubles that may come in the way of our journey, but perhaps it’s everything put together that makes our experience worthwhile.
So, whether you’ve been constantly pondering over whether you should take that holiday or not, or if you’ve been bogged down by stress- here's how traveling can have a positive impact on your mental health, by stirring your soul 😊!
1. Relieves your stress and boosts your happiness
According to researchers at the University of Surrey in UK, people are found to be the happiest when they have a trip coming up (you can probably relate to that too😊). Similarly, another recent research by Cornell University discovered that people are happier when they’re anticipating an upcoming journey as compared to the anticipation of their new possessions.
This comes as no surprise as traveling not only gives us the break we deserve but gives us the opportunity to experience a new place, meet new people and most importantly, spend quality time with those that we love and care about 😊! So give all that stress and your daily, chaotic life a break, and start planning your next trip!
2. Opens your mind, and helps you reinvent yourself
Pico Iyer once wrote, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in and fall in love once more.”
There’s a reason why traveling is beyond just those instagrammable sunsets and ticking off that bucket list. When we embark on a journey to explore a part of the world, we open our minds to new things, new people and new experiences. We start seeing things from a different lens and our perceptions ultimately alter through our journey- both of ourselves and other people. So, whether it’s because of those long trekking hours up the beautiful mountains, the enchanting experience of the underwaters or just the simple experience of wandering in the streets of a new city- they're merely not just activities but, a means to finding and discovering ourselves on the inside 😊!
You know, how when you read a pretty damn good book and you feel like you’ve just come out from this journey and introspection? Well, traveling too is something like that. Except, it doesn’t really matter if it's been a good trip or not, every trip and experience opens your mind a bit, teaches you a little something for life!
3. Enhances your creativity like a boss
How often do you try your hands at new art or craft? How often do you even wander around your own city, and admire the art at your local museum? When we travel, we are more likely to try our hands at the local arts and crafts, visit a museum or two- which ultimately influences our right brain positively.
Moreover, just immersing yourself in a new place with new sights and sounds can give our creative juices a boost. It’s said that creativity is essentially connected to neuroplasticity i.e. our brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.
So, when we change our environments or visit a place that’s completely new – our brains are literally forming new neuronal connections and expanding our creative souls. No wonder there’s been such a rise in travel-related creative content developers, photographers, and writers all over the world- all fueled by their own travel journeys! 😉
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett
Note: This article is an extension of our very own, Ouch Potato’s post on “Why Traveling is So Great For You?” and, is also part of our World Mental Health Day series for this year. If you’re someone who has been facing a lot of stress and anxiety, you could take our special anxiety test to see where your anxiety levels are and what you can do about it.