The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and can make a contribution to his or her community.
Mental illnesses can range from less common conditions, like bipolar disorder, to more common ones like depression and anxiety. Mental illness can lead to physical illness. However, the significance of mental health is still mistakenly overlooked in many societies. Mental health is as important as physical health and requires nurturing and active maintenance. Travel is a great way to maintain mental wellbeing and, by extension, it contributes to a happier and more fulfilling life.
Below we expand on the reasons why travel is good for mental health
1) Travel gives you opportunities to try new things and meet new people, helping you combat monotony. Travel connects people and provides opportunities to learn about new and different cultures, which can help increase your empathy towards others. It can also help improve your overall tolerance, reduce biases and even decrease frustration.
2) Activities, like walking, hiking, and skiing, in scenic areas can help you become more hopeful. A 2020 study found that people who were consciously aware of the vistas and objects around them on a walk reported being more hopeful and upbeat than other walkers.
3) Travel is great for relieving stress and improving your general outlook on life. According to a 2013 study with people aged 25 to 70+, 80% of respondents said travel improves their general mood and outlook on life with 75% of respondents also saying travel helps them reduce stress.
4) Travel helps your brain function better and boosts creativity. Immersing yourself in new cultures increases your mind’s ability to move between different ideas, think more deeply, and integrate thoughts.
5) Time away from work can increase your energy and productivity at work. A Harvard Business Review study of over 400 travellers found that 94% of respondents had as much or more energy after coming back from a good trip.
6) Taking a trip helps you do good, which helps you feel good. Some evidence suggests helping others can promote physiological changes in the brain linked with happiness. Spending money during your holidays in restaurants, attractions and even on locally made souvenirs, helps support the 330 million people who rely on the sector for their livelihoods.
7) A wellness trip can contribute to stronger mental health. On a wellness retreat focused on practices like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, you can learn skills that you can bring home to help you keep up a regular wellness routine. This routine will be key to maintaining stronger mental health.
8) Doing something you enjoy makes you happy. Pull out that bucket list and see what you still need to check off. By doing something you enjoy, you perform necessary self-care and contribute to your own happiness.
9) Travelling with loved ones helps meet your needs for love and belonging. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs identifies love and belonging as key psychological human needs. Sharing your amazing travel adventures with loved ones helps enhance your connection with them while intensifying feelings of love, belonging, and fulfilment.