If you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut or just tired of the average, sedentary lifestyle, then it’s time to take a vacation. Although vacations might seem expensive and out of the ordinary, you may be surprised to learn that taking a vacation is more feasible than you think and can have a variety of advantages for your mental health.
While traveling can be exhilarating and exciting, it offers so much more than margaritas on a sun-soaked beach. Taking a vacation and having a change of scenery, even if it is just a brief escape to somewhere a couple of hours down the road, can do wonders for your health.
It has been scientifically proven that travel provides a number of benefits to your mental health. Just one trip away could help promote a more positive outlook on life. It’s a way of getting you out of your comfort zone, helping you gain confidence and dissipate minor anxieties.
How Traveling Improves Your Mental Health
Surprisingly, 29 percent of American adults have never been abroad. When Americans do travel beyond the border, most visit Canada or Mexico. Money is always a huge factor when it comes to traveling, with about 71 percent of Americans saying it’s too expensive to leave the country.
The truth is, however, that there are a plethora of traveling websites offering deals and traveling packages, making it quite easy to travel abroad without dipping into your savings.
And the variety of health benefits that come along with traveling make it even easier to pack your bags and prepare for a weekend retreat. Here are just some of the mental health benefits associated with traveling:
1. Traveling Relieves Stress
While packing your bags or coordinating flights can be a bit of a hassle, traveling has been scientifically proven to dramatically lower stress levels in all other aspects. According to a study, travelers reported feeling less anxious and more relaxed after a week of taking a vacation.
2. It Helps Improve Your Mental Clarity
Visting somewhere where you feel excited and nervous at the same time can help you sharpen up mentally and emotionally.
Also, facing difficulties in an unfamiliar environment, among new people, forces you to learn and adapt to a life that’s out of your comfort zone. This makes you more alert, aware, and conscious of everything you do and see.
3. Traveling Lowers Risk of Depression
Millions of people struggle with depression on a regular basis and it’s not uncommon for doctors to overprescribe medication for depression. Luckily, natural and healthier alternatives are available for escaping the hopelessness of a depressed state. According to research, travel may be one of them.
A study conducted by the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who vacation at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who vacation less than once every two years.
4. It Can Positively Change Your Personality
As mentioned earlier, traveling to unknown territory can often push you out of your comfort zone. And by doing so, you are emotionally and mentally challenged. Travel forces you to be more open, to ask questions, and to socialize with others.
According to a 2013 paper written by Zimmerman and Neyer, this kind of new adaptation makes you less emotionally reactive to day-to-day changes, while meeting new people can promote agreeableness and improve emotional stability.