Poor mental health is a serious issue plaguing the masses whereas travel offers us the sweet remedy which we often don’t take into account. The human mind if restricted within a definite space are prone to mental degradation. A sedentary lifestyle leads to higher chances of depression as an individual tends to contain himself within a certain domain that leads to lack of confidence, frustration and prone to lifestyle diseases. On the other hand, travellers who do not limit themselves to a certain space and challenge the boundaries, are less prone to depression and lead a more satisfactory life. They are less prone to suffer from lifestyle diseases such as obesity and thyroid and are more active and physically agile.
Here are some of the mental benefits of travelling according to clinical psychologists-
Most travellers suffering from depression who have undertaken long journeys around the world are of the opinion that their decision to step out have changed their lives. A divorcee suffering from severe depression shared his story with us. After struggling with his condition and trying every possible treatment for over two years, he made an impromptu decision to leave it all behind and set out on a backpacking trip to Europe. Now he doesn’t miss any opportunity to travel and goes on biking trips with his Harley group to exotic locations and makes video blogs with people he comes across during his travels. According to him, travel is the opium he can’t do without as it not only made him a better person but also gave his life beauty and purpose. Another story of a young man who tried to end his life twice, tells us how a reluctant solo trip to Mexico, altered his life. He met like-minded people and fell in love, now he continues to travel with a loving family searching for adventures.
A change of weather, food and people often works wonders. Watching the sun rise after a long trek or taking a dip into a mountain pool re-energises the soul and serves as a therapeutic treatment in the midst of a hectic lifestyle.
Makes you happy
Admit it, you always envy the guy who comes back from a holiday glowing and grinning. Being happy and satisfied is what life is all about at the end of the day. If you are depriving yourself of this, you would want to think twice. A change of surroundings opens the mind to different experiences, people and culture and of course- cuisines. If you manage to make a friend during your travels, be assured that he/she will greet you with the same enthusiasm when you guys meet again. Every moment in a new place, every experience stays with you for the rest of your life and makes you smile when you are at your worst.
Travelling is like venturing into the closet that leads to Narnia. You return with stories to tell and a whole lot of happiness to share, not to mention you also grow in the process.
Diminishes social anxiety
An everyday example of this is any student who returned after completing his/her studies from a foreign country, you can’t help but notice the change his/her level of confidence and personality since they left. Travellers who have been on the go for most of their life, are often the most amicable and approachable beings you will ever come across. The experience of mingling with people from different cultures and backgrounds throws open a world of possibilities that alters one’s perception and being. Once you are exposed to different kinds of people and cultures, social anxiety takes a back seat as you understand people better and the process of communicating and interacting with individuals and groups simplifies.
Travelling offers you lessons in sociology and anthropology which helps you understand and connect with people better.Doing so, an invisible barrier that hinders social behaviour breaks and one manages to take the leap and make a connection with an unknown individual, with a smile.
Treats bipolar symptoms
A closed space is often linked to aggravating bipolar symptoms. Frustration and depression impels the symptoms to aggravate, this is often curable with a change of surroundings and lifestyle. One such victim of bipolar disorder, decided to make a major change to his life after his family gave up on him due to the severity of his symptoms. He travelled throughout India in his bike and finally settled into a new life in Dharamsala, a popular Tibetan destination in Northern India. In the course of his travels, he realised that the main reason behind his psychological disorder was the sense of disappointment and frustration he faced due to his work. After his travels, he managed to take full control of his life and said goodbye to his prescription meds for good.
Depression and frustration are the major impetus to psychological disorders. It doesn’t mean one must forgo everything but short breaks are often an investment that not only improves your performance at the workplace but also makes you feel more positive about your work.
A cure for hypochondriacs
Anxiety about illness is one of the most common anxiety disorders of the modern age. With Google search at every other’s fingertips, it is not unlikely to come across an individual who suspects him/herself to be suffering from a serious ailment without any medical reports of the same. One such case was a college graduate who believed she was suffering from multiple serious ailments due to remotely matching symptoms. Scared to undergo diagnosis, she suffered in silence with a constant fear nagging her that made life difficult for her. After returning from a high adrenaline biking trip, she realised that none of her symptoms bothered her during her trip and the “feeling” of a tumour in her stomach had disappeared. Only after returning to her room after the trip she realised that her fears were entirely psychological and after undergoing tests that revealed nothing, she continued her life with new vigour.
The logic is simple, allow yourself to be exposed to the world-it’s experience and colour and notice how it replenishes your spirit and alleviates your anxieties.
Source- Consultation and case studies derived from Clinical psychologists and researchers
Feature Credit- Eat Pray Love (Julia Roberts)
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