If you’re looking for some additional excuses to take a vacation, consider that traveling can improve your emotional well-being in several ways. We often become so stuck in our normal routine, familiar environment, and typical activities that a change is much needed.
Think of travel like an escape. It can be easy to stress yourself out trying to plan ahead and fixate on details, especially if you’re one of those people who wants to do anything and everything your destination has to offer. However, traveling should be like a sanctuary, and an experience where you can learn, enjoy yourself, and work on some self-growth.
So, how does traveling have such an impressive effect on mental and emotional health?
Traveling is a cultural experience
Yes, this is most applicable if you’re traveling internationally (think Spain, New Zealand, South America), but even if you can’t make an extravagant trip across the world, traveling to a new state, city, or rural county can become a unique, cultural endeavor. Cities are hugely diverse in terms of demographics, companies, buildings, landmarks, and other popular attractions. For example, New Orleans hosts Mardi Gras each year, which is packed full of fun, history, traditions, and diversity. Other cities such as Boston and San Francisco are well known for their plethora of art museums, historical attractions, dance theaters, music halls, and more.
Aside from the city life, visiting a place off the beaten path in the United States can also be an incredible experience, especially if the climate is different than what you’re used to. Even if rural areas aren’t your thing, they’re among the best places to turn into a peaceful, mind-clearing adventure. Exploring rural areas teaches us to find enjoyment in things we may not often engage in, especially in places where direct entertainment isn’t offered. Try trading in shopping centers and shows for landscapes such as mountainous areas, forests, deserts, and beaches.
It improves focus
Traveling can help to distance your thoughts away from daily stressors, or current events in your life. Not only does traveling put your mind at ease and promote happiness, but it can also act as a distraction, which means you may be more able to focus on and tackle issues.
Traveling can increase mindfulness, and expand perspective
Sometimes too much of a routine can cause you to limit your mindset and prevent you from thriving with new ideas. A change in scenery can go a long way, especially if you commit the time to spend alone while on a trip. Seeing new places is inspiring and gives you the mental break you need. Whether you pick a city or a rural area, you’re guaranteed to find inspiration wherever you decide to go.
It can be a fulfilling experience
The act of traveling adds to the amazing experiences you get to reflect on in your life. It’s proven that those who travel feel like they’ve lived a more satisfying and wholesome life than those who have not. Most people who travel end up feeling like they’ve gained something important and satisfying after their trip, which is a significant contributor to mental and emotional health.
It can bring you closer to others
Whether you choose to travel solo or with a partner, traveling can improve overall relationships. Since traveling has such a positive effect on mental health, you’ll likely feel rejuvenated and more prepared for things such as social time, relationship issues or conflicts, and family moments.
Here are some tips on gaining the most out of your trip:
Journal your daily thoughts and experiences
Journaling is an exceptional and fun way to record observations, inspirations, and ideas, so you can reflect on them each day or after your trip. Bring a small notebook with you on your journeys, and jot down as many things as you can!
Partake in active experiences
Whether it’s taking a leisure stroll around the Big Apple or hiking trails up Denali, reserving some vacation time for physical activity is super important. Exercise increases dopamine, which in take translates to happiness and a decrease in stress. When traveling, it can also be a fantastic opportunity to see some of the geographic differences in the surrounding area.
Limit use of technology
Restricting the use of phones, social media, and other technology products will help you to become more engaged with others, in touch with your vacation spot, and overall present. In addition, distancing from technology is physically healthy.
And lastly… remember to let go and have fun!
Our favorite apps to use for mental health
If you love to meditate or want to give this beneficial practice a try, Calm app can help you focus and clear your mind. This app is perfect to use anywhere you go and is extremely user-friendly.
If you’re taking a trip or find that remote therapy is better for you, Cerebral will set you up with a therapist, 100% remote. After a free emotional assessment, Cerebral matches you with your personal provider, and flexible scheduling that accommodates to your life! Not a bad gig, right?
Another incredible and easy to use app for counseling is BetterHelp. BetterHelp matches you with your therapist and also offers impressive financial services, assistance, and discounts.
Aura monitors your current mental states and pairs it with the best meditation or calming techniques, so you can limit the amount of stress and anxiety in your life.