What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘travel’ – a holiday? Meeting new people anonymous? Or maybe, Instagrammable sunsets? While travelling can be exciting and exhilarating, it’s so much more than sipping margaritas on a sun-soaked beach.
Taking a holiday and having a change of scenery, even if it is just a couple of hours down the road, can work wonders, and it has been scientifically proven that travel provides a number of benefits to your mental health.
With the rise of the Instagram generation, visibility of travelling has never been more prominent. As influencers promote the travelling lifestyle, more young people want to mimic it. This and the increased awareness in mental health issues has led to a number of the younger generation taking extended time out to travel and find themselves.
You don’t have to take a gap year for this, just one trip away could help change your outlook on life for the better — here are a few reasons why it may be worth packing your suitcase.
It Increases Happiness
The effects of travel are not only felt during and after your trip but the anticipation of an upcoming trip can boost your mood. After all, don’t we all look forward to our next holiday? People are at their happiest when they have a holiday planned, a study by the University of Surrey found, and are also more positive about their health, economic situation and general quality of life.
A study by Cornell University also found that we get more happiness from anticipating a travel experience in comparison to anticipating buying a new possession. It turns out that money can buy you happiness, but just not in the way that many of us expected. Rather than sending money on material possessions, newer generations are spending it on experiences which enriches their overall happiness.
Our lives can often be constantly busy, and sometimes we may feel that we are living each day on repeat. Sometimes all your body and mind need is a rest. Travelling allows us to reset our minds and forget about our chores and workload back home and instead; we can focus on the present moment.
Having a shortlist of fun daily activities on our travel agenda can offer novelty and change in the form of new people, sights and experiences. You can come back refreshed in every aspect of your life thanks to being able to break away from stress-related daily tasks.
Stay Fit and Healthy
Physical exercise is known to improve mental wellbeing and is one of the first things that will be prescribed to anyone with mental health issues. Therefore, combining the positive effects of travelling with exercise is a no brainer.
Whether you enjoy pounding the pavement on a city break, swimming in the sea or summiting mountain peaks, getting to know a new destination by embracing the great outdoors can boost energy levels and improve your mood.
Combine these positive effects with being closer to nature and you will have a truly relaxing trip. Im.mersing yourself in and connecting with nature is another key way to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
It Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Travel isn’t always swaying palms and spa days. It can also mean navigating crowds in excessive heat, getting lost, struggling with language barriers or culture shock – all of which is extra challenging if you’re prone to feeling down or anxious. Navigating these issues really helps people become accustomed to problem-solving in everyday life, making small problems seem like less of an issue.
Travel can be a form of therapy for anxiety. By keeping worlds and problems “big”, travel gives context to the smaller tasks in life that can often feel overwhelming when you suffer from anxiety. For example, the elation of stepping off a plane after getting ourselves to the other side of the world makes completing a short train journey seem easily achievable. Travel continues to keep many peoples lives open and fulfilled, which in turn, leads to better mental health.
Change in Perspective
One of the main benefits of travelling and experiencing new cultures is the way they view the world. Having new perspectives on life can really help you get your head around some of the issues within your own.
Something as simple as learning a new recipe or changing the way you spend your downtime can have a dramatic effect on your wellbeing. Travel can lead you to question and challenge the norms of everyday life at home, potentially inspiring you to make positive changes.
Before You Go…
If you are going on holiday, you’ll have better peace of mind if all of your documents are ready. Be aware of countries that may need visas. Paperwork can be a mess but luckily these days, countries such as Oman will offer an Oman E-Visa, so it can all be done online before you go. Even Canada is offering a form of electronic visa through a Canada eTA. Make sure you get down to your Birmingham travel agents and book an exciting trip.
Make sure that all your travel documents are in order, with your passport being valid with 6 months left on it before you travel. Research where you are travelling, looking into the culture and dress code that is acceptable so you can enjoy your trip without any complications.