The Mental Health Benefits of Travel

By Henry Moore from FitWellTraveler

The Mental Health Benefits of TravelImage via Pixabay

There’s a popular social media quote people love to share: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” So many people find this little bit of wisdom true — hence its internet popularity. Traveling gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons and meet new people from different places. You can escape the humdrum of your day-to-day life and learn new things about culture, food, and the arts.

But what if someone told you that travel doesn’t just make you richer … that it can also make you healthier and happier?

Travel Can Get You Out of Your Rut

Getting out of dodge can have a pretty significant impact on your personality and outlook on life. If you’re a travel junkie, you’re probably already the kind of person who is open to new experiences. Traveling only helps you expand on that openness, which can lead to all sorts of exciting opportunities. Additionally, people who travel tend to be more warm, empathetic, and giving. The setbacks and uncertainty that often come with exploring a new place helps people become more easygoing and less stressed about the little things. When you meet new people, you open yourself up to new ideas and gain confidence from positive interactions. Furthermore, when you get out there and experience just how big the world really is, you stop fixating on the little things and instead enjoy life more in the moment. It’s called mindfulness — maybe you’ve heard of it?

Travel Will Make You More Grateful

When you’re trudging through life day to day, you can become fixated on your own little world and what you are and aren’t satisfied with. This leaves very little room for gratitude — a quality connected with alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep duration and quality. Traveling provides experiences where you’re able to reflect on your life and become grateful for all the wonderful things you have. Furthermore, as you enjoy a breathtaking view or check something off your bucket list, you’ll feel gratitude for the opportunities you have in life to do such things. Last but not least, after traveling for some time, it feels great to come home. Nothing will make you appreciate the simple things like cozying up in your bed or taking your dog to the park quite like being away for a while.

Travel Can Boost Your Mood

When you travel, your entire mindset can change. You feel recharged and refreshed, ready to face whatever life throws at you. It can help prevent burnout so you perform better at your job once you come back. There’s even evidence that travel can help improve sleep and reduce health complaints. These effects can last for weeks after returning home. It’s not a coincidence that people in the happiest countries in the world get at least five weeks of vacation a year.

Destination can also play a huge part in your mood enhancement. For instance, research suggests being in close proximity to the ocean can improve your mental health. With the ease of access to places like the panhandle of Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama, you can reap the benefits of ocean zen on an affordable weekender.

Travel Improves How We Relate to Others

When you’re in a new city and you have nothing to lose, it’s easy to strike up conversations with strangers and meet new friends. Building new connections with people helps promote empathy and helps us become more accepting of diversity. Sometimes the world can seem like a cold, cruel place; but a positive interaction with a stranger is the perfect thing to remind you that there is still goodness in the world.

Besides connecting you with humanity in general, traveling can help strengthen bonds between partners and friends that do it together. It helps people feel more connected, builds memories, and can even reignite a spark previously dulled by the monotony of everyday life.

Getting out of town and seeing something new benefits people in a number of ways. From expanding the mind to reestablishing bonds with our loved ones and growing appreciative for what we have, it’s safe to say the power of travel is transformative. Even a short vacation to a nearby destination is better than nothing … so get out in the world and buy that thing that will make you rich.

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