Editor’s Note: Your safety matters. If you choose to travel, you are strongly encouraged to check for travel restrictions and to find out if there are any special requirements you need to know about before departure.
We tend to take a break from our day-to-day routine with the occasional shopping spree, spa day or even a trip out of town. We all know that travelling has its benefits for our physical well-being, but studies also suggest that going on a vacation can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional health.
Most of us prefer taking time off to travel and sip cool lemonade on a sun-soaked beach as a way to get into ‘relaxation mode’ and get a breather from work and daily demands. However, it’s about so much more. It’s also about making memories, getting out of your comfort zones, experiencing new cultures, making new friends, and so on.
Here are the top 4 reasons why travelling is good for our mental health.
1. Relieving stress
“With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome,” says Margaret J King from the Center of Cultural Studies and Analysis.
Travelling helps you escape life and take your mind off stressful situations. No bills to worry about. No deadlines to chase you. It leads to lower cortisol levels, which makes you feel calmer and more content. Additionally, when you get a healthy dose of the sun’s rays, you increase your serotonin—also known as the ‘happy hormone’. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
2. Overcoming social anxiety
While talking to new people and discovering new places may be exciting to some, it could easily be another person’s worst nightmare. It might sound counterintuitive for those who fear navigating unfamiliar crowds in excessive heat, the possibility of getting lost, dealing with language barriers and culture shock—all of which are heightened when you’re prone to feeling social anxiety.
Naturally, travelling makes a person open up to new experiences, including those that force him or her to face new people and places. Travelling also enables travellers to see the world on a different scale, giving context to the smaller things in life that can feel overwhelming for those who get anxious.
3. Increasing productivity levels
A Harvard Business Review study of over 400 travellers found that 94% of the participants “had as much or more energy after coming back after a good trip”. The average professional is overworked, and taking a break can take you out of the office routine. So, book that holiday you’ve been planning for and come back to work fully energised.
Taking a well-deserved break can be like getting a tune-up for the brain, enhancing your mental health and cognition.
4. Boosting brain power
“When you expose your brain to an environment that’s novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts,” says Dr Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist from the University of Pittsburgh. When you travel, there is a change in your surroundings. Even a brief weekend getaway could fill your mind with new ideas, colours, flavours, and, as a result, a different train of thought.
Take time off to go somewhere you’ve never been to before. Let the novelty around stimulate new connections between nerve cells, which recharges the mind. Go away to a new destination and come back with fresher memories, a clearer focus and renewed motivation. That feeling of being born anew is a sign of boosted brain power.
It’s Time to Start the Self-Development Process
The science says it all! There is definitive proof that travelling is beneficial for boosting brain function and your overall mental health.
Now that you know the benefits, where would you like to go for your trip? Pull out your bucket list and plan which destinations you need to check off. Start your journey towards stronger mental health and brain power today. Discover your next travel destination on QVI. You may also submit a booking form or, for additional assistance, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.