How Travel Can Improve Your Mental Health

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travel and mental health

How Travel Can Improve Your Mental Health

Think back to the last time you took a trip to another country, another state, or another town. Do you recall the excitement you felt as you anticipated the trip or neared your destination? Do you remember the laughs and memories you created with friends, family or even strangers?

Euphoric might be a good way to describe the sensation. Traveling to a different environment, visiting unfamiliar sites, and meeting new people generates excitement and the feeling of life lived in the moment. Mental health and travel have a complementary relationship that is worth discussing.

Experiencing a change of scenery, meeting different people, and exploring new landmarks creates a positive effect on one’s mood. There are several reasons why travel can have such a profound effect on mental health.

The Enchantment of a New Environment

Our brains are sensitive and receptive to new environments. The brain is an adaptive organ that swings into action to help gather and interpret the information you need to adjust to new surroundings. Travel takes you outside of your comfort zone in a good way.

Facing the challenges that a new environment presents can improve cognitive function. This positive stress increases self-confidence and boosts a sense of mastery.

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When traveling, we forget about the commitments and stresses of our day-to-day lives. Anticipating and undertaking our trips increases happiness levels and improves mental health and quality of life. New travel experiences rewire the brain and elevate the mood and inspire confidence.

Dealing day in and out with the same environment takes its toll. It diminishes the zest for life, creates looming problems, and makes us feel anxious, depressed, or bad about ourselves.

To deal with these problems, some people feel tempted to escape with recreational drugs or alcohol. The combination of mental health issues and drugs and alcohol is not healthy and leads to addiction. People who struggle with both a mental health issue and substance abuse often need to attend rehab centers that treat both conditions.

Or, instead of turning to alcohol and drugs, you can use travel to deal with stress. Travel helps people cope with stress and is a healthy form of escapism.

Travel Can Decrease Depression and Stress

People who suffer from depression and anxiety often turn inward and isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Hitting the open road or flying somewhere completely new can address these forms of mental illness. The increased involvement and engagement with friends or strangers that traveling promotes decreases depression and stress.

When you travel, it is easy to immerse yourself in new and exotic surroundings. You engage in activities and interact with others as you find your way around unfamiliar settings. Travel takes you outside of yourself and lifts your mood. It engages you in tasks that lower stress and anxiety while strengthening your mental health.

Facing the challenges that a new environment presents can improve cognitive function. This positive stress increases self-confidence and boosts a sense of mastery. You will congratulate yourself on stepping outside of your comfort zone and having a great time without engaging in dangerous activities, such as substance abuse.

Hit the Open Road Today!

Indulging your wanderlust positively affects your mental health. While travel alone can not cure mental health problems, it can help take your mind off the things that have been causing you anguish. So don’t wait any longer…call a friend, pull out a map, get your Google on, find somewhere new and see it for yourself! You’ll be surprised how much happier it can make you.

Dale Vernor

Dale Vernor

Dale is a writer and researcher in the mental health field for Monarch Shores Rehab Center. Dale likes to write about mental health to help reduce the stigma associated with these problems. His goal is to help other people realize that they are not alone with their issues, one article at a time.

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