There have been many studies done on how travel can benefit those with mental health issues.
Ever feel like you are stuck in a rut? Working too hard? Stressed out because your mind is in a twirl and your capacity to process information is diminished?
We have all been in that situation, where we get to that point where we have to get out of the house at a weekend and having a change of scenery, even if it is just a couple of hours down the road, this can work wonders.
It has been scientifically proven that travel provides a number of benefits to your mental health.
Here are a few reasons, why it may be worth packing your suitcase!
Because of the way our brains are wired, it means our brains are sensitive to change, influenced by new environments and experiences.
We have many clients including children, who become immersed in the culture in their destination and engage with its local culture.
This open-mindedness can help you and your children to embrace different ways of living on your own, in turn influencing your outlook on life.
Many of my clients love the experiential type of holiday for them and their families, instead of sitting on a sunbed by the pool, which could be anywhere in the world or even at home.
Challenge the brain by travelling to new and different experiences and environments. This can then become a part of life that will promote and enhance brain health and resilience.
Also, studies have also shown that those who did not go regularly were more at risk of heart attack or disease.
Men who did not go on holiday for several years were actually 30 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack compared to men who did not take time off.
Women who holidayed only once every six years or less were also eight times more likely to develop or suffer from a heart attack or disease compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.
Change your personality
If you are travelling to a foreign country and out of your comfort zone, you often have to adapt to those differences.
This can make you more open by raising awareness in your personality. This can also make you less emotional and less reactive in day to day challenges back home.
Studies have shown that this can help make you more agreeable within your existing social networks too.
Although missing a connecting flight or losing baggage in a foreign airport is sure to boost your anxiety, travelling in general has been scientifically proven to lower stress levels, dramatically.
Don’t live your life ‘On repeat’. Escape the daily stresses and commitments of everyday life, by travelling., thus offering novelty and change in the form of new people, sights and experiences. Try new activities and experiences to free up and reset your mind and body and enjoy some stress relief.
We have clients who love therapy activities at home but love to take these activities abroad too. Imagine a sunrise Yoga sun salutation on a Californian beach, or a fantastic well-being retreat in a hidden Thailand Spa resort?
A study has also found that women who holiday at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who holiday less than once every two years.
Pre- travel boost
The effects of travel aren’t felt only during and after your trip – in fact, even just the anticipation of going on holiday can boost your mood. People are at their happiest when they have a holiday planned.
We have a travel APP that our clients use to view their itineraries, which has a countdown to departure on it. My clients love this build-up of raised anticipation levels.
Studies have also found that we get more happiness from anticipating a travel experience in comparison to anticipating buying a new possession.
I bet you can remember that magical holiday, wedding abroad or perfect honeymoon with more joy than when you bought that last item for your house?
It turns out that money can buy you happiness, but just not in the way we expected!
Strengthen your relationships
Some say that a holiday will make or break a relationship or friendship, but this is just because you aren’t ready or happy to be in that relationship at that point.
Sharing travel experiences with your beloved other half can make your relationship with them even stronger, which has a knock-on effect on your own mental wellbeing and self-esteem.
Results have shown that not only does travel have long-term effects for couples, such as an increased closeness and perception of shared interests and goals, but also that it helps to maintain relationships, as well as to reignite a romantic spark.
Not only do you get to enjoy some quality time together and enjoy new experiences together, but overcoming the tougher elements of travelling together, such as planning the trip and making any compromises, can help bring you closer together and make you a stronger couple.
References: Colombia Business School, US Travel Association, Cornell University, University of Surrey, Marshfield Clinic, Global Coalition on Aging.