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Here’s 5 ways travel can boost your mental health

Happiness, resilience and relaxation are just some of the mental health benefits you can expect to reap when exploring a new environment.


Whether you’re sipping poolside cocktails at sunset or navigating your way through a bustling foreign city, travel has the power to change the way you think about the world.

But what impact does it have on you as a person?

1. It helps combat stress

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, rather than pushing through, it could be more beneficial to take a break, clear your head and recharge your batteries. One study found that even a four-day ‘long-weekend’ vacation had positive effects on wellbeing, recovery, strain, and perceived stress for as long as 45 days.

While the reduction in strain was greater for those who holidayed away from home, the other effects were similar for those who stayed home. So, ditch your desk for a reclining sun lounge and wave goodbye to your worries.

Amsterdam postcard

2. It promotes creativity

There’s a huge difference between scrolling through Instagram and seeing a destination with your own eyes. According to Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, visiting a foreign place and immersing yourself in their local environment increases your cognitive flexibility and enhances “depth and integrativeness of thought”.

To truly reap the benefits of travelling abroad, he urges you to engage and interact with the local people and their culture as opposed to simply being a passive observer.

Camel trekking in the desert

3. It boosts confidence and resilience

Exploring a new city can be both exciting and intimidating. If you’re not a regular traveller, it might take a while for you build up the confidence you need to navigate an unfamiliar environment.

Whether its bridging a language barrier or asking a stranger for help, overcoming these obstacles is key to improving your self-confidence and problem-solving skills – particularly if you’re travelling solo. Once you do, you’ll learn to adapt to life outside of your comfort zone, making you more mentally and emotionally resilient.


4. It encourages self-discovery

Without sounding like a total cliché, travel really can help you ‘find yourself’. Exploring a new country or culture puts you in the path of experiences and choices you wouldn’t normally face in regular life.

These situations force you to think and act differently, putting your own life into perspective and instilling in you a newfound appreciation for what you have.


5. It makes you happy

No morning alarms, no meetings and no nagging co-workers are just a few of the many perks of going on holiday. In fact, a recent study discovered that travel could be the key to happiness.

Researchers at Cornell University found that spending money on experiences is more likely to bring you lasting happiness than spending money on material objects. These experiences create lasting memories you can look back on for years to come.

Furthermore, researchers at the University of Surrey found that people are happiest when they have a trip coming up and that they feel a greater sense of joy and contentment than those who don’t have a vacation booked in.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get packing.

Read next: Margaret River tops Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Pacific 2019 list

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