Travelling: can it have a positive impact on our mental health?

Cayla Viner details the top four reasons to why travelling can have a positive effect on our mental health and well-being.

Cayla Viner
20th November 2019
Image Credits: Sage Friedman from unsplash
The idea of travelling somewhere different is always a delightful prospect; you get to some time away from home, work and the chance to take some great holiday snaps. With all this excitement of a new destination, it is no wonder that travelling has a positive impact on our mental health. “How?” you may ask.

Well, I'll give you the top four reasons travelling is so beneficial for our well-being.

Before you have even set foot on new ground, the fact that you know you are going away gives you pre-trip happiness. “The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip” Jeroen Nawijn told The New York Times. If you are like me and have booked a trip weeks or months in advance, you too will get that huge sense of excitement from the moment the booking confirmation is received. Those months of excitement motivates me through the slog of work and uni life, because I know that each day leads me all the more closer to that amazing new destination I will be escaping to. If you cannot bear to wait weeks and months for an extravagant getaway, why not book a few weekend trips throughout the year - you will have some great stories to tell on Monday morning too!

Stress relief
Workloads, deadlines, daily routines. Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. Do you feel like you are in a bit of a rut? It can be so easy to get bogged down by the mundane necessities of life that we can almost get stuck in a little bubble. Travelling reminds us that our daily life stresses do not have to define us and there is in fact a whole world to immerse ourselves in when we allow a bit of a break once in a while. In Britain employers are usually given 25 days annual holiday. Use them to travel, as 2013 Stress in America Survey by the American psychological association stated that vacations can help manage stress and negative emotions by removing us from environments and activities that are the sources of our stress. And we should count ourselves lucky that we are not part of that American survey as they are only given 2 weeks of annual leave.

Image Credit: Simon Rae from Unsplash

Broadens our perspective of the world
Diverse cultures, variety of languages, change of climate and beautiful views are just a few of the many reasons travelling can help expand the mind. As our brains loves to absorb new information, travelling can only help to feed our brain and ultimately make ourselves feel more worldly and curious. I warn you, once you start to embrace travelling, you may become addicted to the elation it gives your mind and soul. 

T.S Eliot said “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Allows us to re-evaluate
While travelling is a hugely thrilling prospect as you imagine the wonders of a brand-new city or country to discover, it is also an activity that takes you right out of your comfort zone. Walking around an unfamiliar city with every possibility of getting completely lost is certainly a challenge for any traveller. Obviously, you cannot just stop and give up, you are forced into a situation where you have to use your initiative and common sense. I love wandering around where I have never been or haven’t even planned because I come across all walks of life and see things that I just wouldn’t experience in the cycle of my daily routine at home. It can be the most rewarding sense of achievement when I come away from a trip and after the challenges of being independent in the unknown, the familiar mishaps back home don’t seem quite so daunting.

Image Credits: Dan Meyers from Unsplash
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