When I say “travel”, what’s the first thing you think of? Vacation. Meet new people Or maybe, Instagrammable sunsets? Traveling can be thrilling and exciting, but it’s more than just a fun way to sip margaritas at a beach.
While it’s obvious that traveling is good for your physical health, there are significant scientific studies that show that exploration of new places can also be beneficial for your mental and psychological well-being.
These are proven ways that traveling can make your mind happy, and keep you healthy.
1. It is a great stress reliever. “The stress of daily work and the demands of our lives can make it difficult to find what is meaningful and interesting,” Dr. Tamara McClintock Greenberg (a San Francisco-based psychologist) says. She is also the author of Psychodynamic Perspectives of Aging and Illness. It is important to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life in order to recharge, relax and recharge your mind.
What better way to do this than to travel and check off the destinations you are most excited about? Travelling promotes happiness and takes your mind off of stressful situations. You feel calmer and more content because your cortisol levels are lower. Greenberg adds, “It helps us reflect upon our personal goals and interest.” A 2013 survey found that 80% of respondents felt satisfied with their lives.
More than 80% of Americans surveyed reported significant decreases in stress after just a few days of travel. Jacintha Verdegaal is a passionate traveler who founded Urban Pixxels, a lifestyle and travel blog.
2. It allows you to reinvent yourself. Patrick Rothfuss, a writer, said that a long road trip can reveal more about you than a hundred years’ of silence. Experiential travel, especially to a foreign country can help you reevaluate your life and make new discoveries. Valerie Wilson, solo travel expert and founder, Trusted Travel Girl says that travel can open up your mind in ways you didn’t know were possible.
The valuable lessons you learn along your journey broaden your view and make you more open to learning new things. Verdegaal says, “I love traveling to different cultures because it forces me to think about my own.” Different isn’t better or worse. It’s just different. However, being faced with these differences helps me to reevaluate my principles and values and sometimes change them,” says the professional globetrotter.
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