Why travel is good for your mental health

For anyone grappling with mental health issues, travel can serve as a hard reset for your brain. It physically changes the chemistry in your brain and creates new neural pathways. The positive effects of which last long after you return home.

Here’s how travelling rewires your brain and leads to a happier mind.

You’ll be on your own time

It’s all too common these days to feel like you're not the one in control of your own life. Travel gives you that control back. You choose where you’re going and what you’ll do there. You make the decisions.

Don’t want to set your alarm? Don’t. Fancy taking a nap at 4pm. Do it. Want to eat ice cream for breakfast? Get to it. The change of pace will embolden and rejuvenate your mind.

Your brain won’t have time

Getting bogged down with the nitty gritty details of everyday life happens to many of us. Heck, most of us even worry about things completely out of our control. But while travelling, your brain will be too full of other new stimuli to concern itself with any of that.

You won’t be worrying about exam results or stressing about module choices when your brain’s got to figure out how to navigate a country with a foreign language you don’t speak.

You’ll see the bigger picture

Taking a physical break from the stressors of your daily grind gives you time to properly reflect on what actually makes you happy. Being immersed in different cultures forces you to think about your own. And ultimately you appreciate things more.

Things you obsess over like an untidy housemate or unfriendly classmate won’t seem so important. Your whole perspective on life will broaden and you’ll see things differently.

You’ll build mental resilience

The bottom line is that travelling makes you more flexible, patient and emotionally durable. This is because facing challenges in unfamiliar situations with unfamiliar people will force you to adapt. And also teach you to surrender to the uncontrollable and simply roll with it.

Once you’ve learnt how to deal with transport delays, squat toilets and the countless other dramas you’ll face while travelling, you’ll be ready to take on anything.

You’ll make special connections

Whether you’re travelling with companions or on your own, you will meet so many new friends on the road. It’s inevitable. People from different backgrounds with different views. And these people will enhance your life. They’ll teach you to think differently and be more open.

And maybe you only met the day before, but once you’ve battled through a bout of travellers diarrhea with a travel pal, you’ll have bonded for life.

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