My host agency, KHM Travel Group recently compiled some great information about the health benefits of traveling. It was too good not to share.
Set your out of office reply and crank up Pharrell’s “Happy” – it’s time for vacation!
Ok, maybe not exactly. But chances are good that even reading that sentence, your brain experienced a tiny, momentary spike in happiness. In fact, recent studies emphasize that travel can change our brain’s chemistry and improve our mental health.
The mental health benefits of travel indicate that our vacations aren’t just something we could do, but something we should do to ward off anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.
1. It brings us joy
According to a Cornell University study, even planning and anticipating a trip can be a mood booster. 2020 might have temporarily interfered with our visions of poolside lounging or urban exploration, but having positive things to think about is key to our mental well-being. Once we arrive in our destination, even if it’s just a quick drive from home, those fluttery feelings of fulfillment of having reached our goal kick in.
2. It relieves stress
91% of Americans say that they see a vacation as a chance to “hit the reset button” on their stress and anxiety. A separate study of 1,500 women found that those who traveled twice a year were less likely to suffer from chronic stress and depression. Why? Travel allows us to focus on ourselves and brings us back to the things we find most meaningful in our lives, which we tend to ignore when we are running on tight schedules and to-do lists.
3. It’s a workout for our brains
Not only are we more physically active when we travel, but our minds are more engaged. Much of what we do during the course of our daily routines we do without thinking, but on vacation, we’re constantly exposed to new surroundings and information. Immersing yourself in a new place enhances creativity, which in turn helps us develop new long-term neural connections, according to Psychology Today. In short, traveling lets us flex our brain power!
4. It gives us confidence.
Facing unfamiliar situations and stepping outside our comfort zones can be thrilling, but they can also test our patience. Learning how to adapt, even if it’s just to a new form of transport for a few days, makes us more emotionally flexible and resilient. When we go back to our normal lives and are confronted with a challenging situation, we can draw on the times we’ve successfully navigated a tricky travel situation and use these skills to quash our insecurities.
For our brain, a vacation is like a room without a roof. It makes us happy. Even short trips, like a weekend getaway, sustain weeks of lowered stress and feel-good vibes.
Contact Matt Travel about the mental health remedy you need for your next vacation.
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