We have all heard the age old saying “travel is good for the soul”, but up until recently, I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of this statement. Lately I’ve been struggling a lot to get inspired, motivated and even to participate in social activities due to burnout. But I knew I had a big trip coming up for my 25th birthday to Paris, France.
Honestly, thank goodness I took this vacation when I did, it caused me to have a plethora of revelations about my life as well as helping me recharge and get inspired again! Not only is traveling good for your mental health, it also does wonders for your physical health:
Lowers stress levels
This one might not come as a shock, but it’s been scientifically proven that travel will increase your happiness, decrease your depression and chill you out from the hustle.
A study found that three days after vacation, travelers felt well-rested, less anxious and in a better mood. Proving that traveling provides us much needed time to relax, rejuvenate and recharge.
Exposure to different environments
As someone who has a cousin with their PhD in Epidemiology as well as having a well-seasoned nurse for a mother and many doctors in my family, it’s safe to say I grew up living by one of the most famous lines in She’s the Man, “Suck it up, rub some dirt in it!”
In all seriousness, research has shown that being exposed to dirt and some illnesses is actually good for our immune system. When you travel from place to place, your body adapts to thousands of new bacteria, which makes it a lot stronger.
Boosts happiness and overall satisfaction
Besides the obvious factors of wanderlust and not having to go into work, traveling gives you the opportunity to step away from the daily grind. The new experiences help rewire your brain, in turn boosting your mood and self-confidence. Traveling also helps you take your mind off stressful situations, hence leading to lower cortisol levels, making you feel more calm and content.
Experiencing or even planning new events can help get rid of the trapped or monetizing feeling of everyday life. According to a Cornell University study, the anticipation of a trip can increase your happiness substantially, even more than the anticipation of acquiring something tangible, like new clothes.
Increases activity and fitness
I know what you’re thinking, “how in the heck does it help fitness if I am sitting on a plane, train and car for hours?” Trust me I get it. Even though there are hours you will be inactive, traveling presents a multitude of opportunities to make up for that by being extremely active.
In Paris, we walked everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. Not only did we walk way more than we normally do, but we even biked around the Palace of Versaille. I haven’t been on a bike since I was a little kid! This is because when we travel, we are more willing to try new things like hiking, extreme sports and even walking the city streets.
Helps grow mental resilience
Traveling somewhere where you feel excited as well as intimidated can help you toughen up not only mentally, but emotionally as well. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, those who travel and study abroad tend to be more open and emotionally stable.
Facing difficulties in an unfamiliar environment also forces you to learn and adapt to a life that’s out of your comfort zone. This makes you more patient and flexible. Studies have shown a connection between travel and an increase in creativity, a deeper sense of cultural awareness and personal growth.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, go out to explore the world and get healthy!
What are some ways you have experienced a healthier lifestyle from traveling? Have you experienced events out of your comfort zone that have changed your perspective? Comment below!