According to the World Health Organization, as many as 1 in 8 adults suffer from a mental health disorder. In the United States alone, there are supposedly over 52.9 million people dealing with conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress on a daily basis. And while there are many treatments available like therapy and medication, sometimes, all you need or want is a change of scenery. That’s where travel comes in. Below are three ways in which traveling can improve your mental health.
1. Travel can Reduce Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative brain disease that affects memory. However, according to a study published in the journal Tourism Management, individuals who frequently travel have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This may be related to the amount of work your neurons have to keep up with while on a vacation, such as taking in the number of new sights and experiences, as well as the connections your brain comes up with trying to make sense of new places. If you want to keep your mind sharp as you age, start planning that next trip!
2. Travel can Help You Stave Off Depression
Depression can have a profound effect on every aspect of your life, including your relationships, work, and physical health. In addition, depression can also lead to thoughts of suicide. While seeking help from a mental health professional is important for thoughts like this, travel can actually help keep these thoughts at bay before they set in. After all, visiting new places and trying new things can be fun, and these activities take up a lot of any person’s mental capacity. It is a good distraction, but it will not cure your depression. Some research suggests that some people who are already suffering from depression experience worse depressive symptoms after the trip, especially if the trip was done impulsively. For a lot of cases, the depression was worsened by the disappointment that being somewhere else doesn’t make the depression any better, coupled with the realization that depression is internal. So if you’re going on a trip, don’t focus on what you’re feeling; instead, focus on what things you can do, and try not to dwell on anything else.
3. Travel can Decrease Your Stress Levels
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no surprise that stress levels are higher than ever before. But did you know that chronic stress can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes? Fortunately, travel can help decrease your stress levels and improve your overall health. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that men who did not go on vacation for several consecutive years have a 30% bigger chance of getting a heart attack compared to those who do travel frequently. If you’re looking to reduce your stress levels, book that ticket and enjoy some well-deserved R&R. Just make sure to avoid going on a binging spree while you’re out on your trip!
4. Travel Requires You to Move
While there are many reasons why traveling is beneficial, the simplest fact is that it requires you to move around and do physical activities. For example, when you’re on a vacation, you have to get up and explore new places. This means walking long distances, climbing stairs, and doing other physical activities that help keep you healthy. In addition, traveling also allows you to try new things — you can rent a boat and paddle around on a lake, or you can dive in and swim. You can bring a bike and speed through bike trails, or you can walk leisurely along a hiking path. Physical activities like these improve your physical health. So if you’re looking for a way to stay healthy while having fun, travel is definitely the way to go!
5. Travel is an Opportunity to Connect
People have different needs, and one of the most important needs is the need to connect with others. We need to feel that we belong somewhere, that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. And there’s no better way to do this than by traveling.
When you travel, you meet new people from all over the world. You learn about their cultures, their customs, and their way of life. You share experiences with them, and you build connections that last a lifetime. These connections are so important because they remind us that we are not alone in this world — we all share the same human experience. We all want happiness, love, and connection in our lives. And when we travel, we find these things in abundance.
So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your mental and physical health, decrease your stress levels, and connect with people from all over the world, traveling is definitely the way to go. Who knows? You may even find yourself coming back home with a new outlook on life. Get out there and go on an adventure!