We’ve been chatting a fair bit about travel recently. How jet-setting is officially back, and people are planning trips aplenty right now (despite the ridiculous flight costs), and where folks are keen to go. But one thing you may not have considered is that travel is actually kind of good for you – at least it is good for your mental health.
In fact, according to Katie Kokolas, a psychologist with online mental health platform Lysn, there are loads of proven reasons travel is great for your mental health. Here, we chat with Kokolas about why it’s so beneficial to you.
5 reasons travel is good for your mental health
Travel experiences can improve your emotional stability
Kokolas shared that it’s fairly broadly known that travel has the ability to push you out of your comfort zone, but beyond that, it can actually help you become more open, too.
According to Kokolas, a paper by Zimmerman and Neyer highlighted that in addition to pushing you to become more open, “travelling can make you less emotionally reactive in certain situations and can improve overall emotional stability”.
“Finding yourself disconnected from your normal routine can make it easier to approach strangers and meet new people (which might not be the case when you’re at home),” she added.
It reduces stress
Kokolas shared that, naturally, stepping away from your everyday environment can be a great stress reliever.
If you’re run down at work or feeling drained by family, a little break can do wonders. Sure, it’s not necessarily going to solve your problems. But it can give you a chance to reset.
And in the lead-up to the holiday, “it [travel planning] might also give you a greater goal to focus on, so you’re able to put aside the everyday stresses when you know you’re working towards an amazing holiday”.
A trip can boost your mood
When it comes to your general mood, Kokolas explained that studies suggest that travel can reduce anxiety and help you to feel rested.
“There are several studies that show travelling can make you feel relaxed, well rested and overall, less anxious. In many cases, your mood doesn’t just improve whilst you’re on holiday, it continues for weeks after you return home,” she said.
It keeps your mind sharp
In addition to a boosted mood, emotional stability and lower levels of stress, Kokolas shared that travel can push you to learn new things.
“Travelling engages your mind and strengthens your cognitive ability by putting you in new and unusual situations that forces you to keep your mind sharp,” she said.
“Challenging yourself with these new experiences boosts cognitive health and exposes your brain to an environment that is a lot more complex. This means you form new neural connections, categorise things differently and keep your brain active.”
Travel is great for your happiness
“Many people might know from experience that travelling usually brings out the best version of themselves,” Kokolas said.
“When you travel, you tend to prioritise feel-good vibes, because you don’t need to worry about your obligations.”
She explained that stepping out of your comfort zone and living different experiences can help you realise your priorities in life.
Travel is often about taking advantage of experiences that bring you joy, so you may find you want to bring some of that energy home with you.
In the end, the ability to travel is a huge privilege. If you’re able to do it and it brings you joy, then you absolutely should invest your time in a holiday or two. The fact that it will probably give you a mindset boost is an incredible bonus.
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