The amazing 10 psychological benefits of traveling
Who does not enjoy a good trip to a city that has never been? Traveling is a great motivation, as well as a source of joy, reflection, and self-discovery. Traveling allows us to explore new climates and cultures, immerse ourselves in them, and stimulate our minds.
Other people prefer monotony and being comfortable in their home. But the truth is that the travel fever has been increasing in recent decades. Television, cinema, and the internet have opened a window to other parts of the world, unique places that catch our attention. The fact that prices have been dropping has also influenced this travel boom, allowing more people to move around the globe.
Psychological benefits for travelers
There is extensive scientific literature on the psychological and emotional benefits of good travel habits. Of course, some of these benefits may be quite intuitive, but it never hurts for science to research and discover the ins and outs of travel in our psyches.
Without going any further, a study that was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that the feeling of happiness is found in the record of memories and experiences relevant to us, and whose maximum expression is travel.
Other research indicates a clear correlation between being a traveler and longevity. Although this could be due to a socioeconomic factor (and therefore would be a spurious correlation), something like a traveling gene also seems to have been detected. The fact of traveling to different parts of the planet is not in itself a factor that explains greater longevity, but the psychological benefits that the experiences acquired during the trips do seem clear to us. These can improve our quality of life and, ultimately, lengthen the number of days we live.
All kinds of travel are positive
When researchers talk about travel, they are very clear: all types of travel are positive for the psychological health of those who do it. From nearby destinations to trips to remote and exotic places, all trips can be a great source of emotional well-being. You don’t need to go very far, or spend a lot of money, or practice any specific activity: all trips “add up”.
However, and not surprisingly, some trips report much more interesting experiences than others. Anyway, all the experiences that we live outside the home can be very positive to stimulate our minds. Each person has adventure preferences, and it depends on many factors, such as personality, age, and other variables.
Requirements for a trip to change our lives
Many people confess to their friends, assuring them that a trip they made changed their lives. It is true, sometimes trips destroy many of our thought patterns and make us see beyond, opening us to new worlds and possibilities that we never even contemplated before.
Some of the requirements for a trip to be a kind of “reset” in our minds are the following:
- The trip was made without a company or with a group of individuals unknown until then.
- The trip represented a challenge of a spiritual nature.
- The culture of the country or region that was visited was substantially different from the culture of the traveler.
- They were rather long trips, of more than 2 weeks.
If you have ever had an existential crisis, you will have realized that sometimes we need a change in our daily dynamics. In this sense, traveling can help us regain faith in ourselves and even overcome bad times.
The 11 psychological benefits of traveling
Surely there are many more than eleven, but in today’s article, we will list the 11 most important benefits of the good habit of traveling and seeing the world.
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
Stress is the pandemic of the 19th century in western countries. Work demands, haste, and the frenetic pace of life cause us a latent discomfort that, sooner or later, manifests itself through stress pictures. We can’t stop thinking about our obligations, about tomorrow’s meetings, or the uncertainty at work, and we forget to enjoy the present and the small pleasures of life.
However, when we undertake a trip, we disconnect from all these daily anguishes and focus on living in the present, relaxing in the pool, visiting paradisiacal beaches, moving with the beauty of the landscapes … We focus on the moment and we are not pending any meeting or complying with work routines.
2. Enhance your ability to solve problems
Throughout a trip, we force ourselves to leave our comfort zone and we must face certain situations and contexts that require greater involvement. You will live certain experiences in which you will have to make decisions and solve problems.
You likely get lost in the streets that you do not know, that you go in time to the places and that you must communicate with natives who do not speak your language. In short, throughout the odyssey, you will have to solve various problems and complicated situations that will present themselves, and this will help you improve this ability.
3. Increase your communication and social skills
If you have always wanted to meet new people and make friends, you must bear in mind that traveling offers you the best opportunity to connect with other people. Being in an unknown place, it is very likely that you will be encouraged to talk to people and thus develop your social skills.
Don’t worry if during the first few days you find it difficult to talk to people you meet on the road. Once you have overcome the scenic environment, you will surely be able to meet exceptional people who will give meaning to your experience. You may even make friends and come back after a while to visit them or welcome them into your own home.
4. Open your mind and expand your horizons
Traveling is the best solution to get rid of stereotypes and prejudices. It is often heard that “traveling is the best cure against racism.” Prejudices make us feel suspicious of people for irrational reasons and take us away from the possibility of connecting with new people.
When we are on an expedition to a new culture, we will realize that some of these thoughts were not founded. We will discover new people and customs that deserve our appreciation, helping us to open our minds and to relate more kindly with all kinds of people.
5. It favors self-discovery
Taking an exciting trip is the best way to get to know yourself. We temporarily abandon our daily context and visit a different environment, which can help us take perspective on who we are and what we want in life.
Also, traveling can give us a new vital approach, discovering things that we did not know we liked.
6. Makes you happier
The experiences we experience during travel make us secrete different hormones of happiness, such as endorphins. When we are away from home we forget the worries and obligations at work and family. During a trip, we carry out activities that we like and that promote our relationship with other people.
All this plays in favor of our psychological health.
7. It takes you away from fear and insecurities
Fear is a feeling that paralyzes us. And, as many experts claim, the best way to overcome fears is to face them. Once we become aware that fears are only in our heads, little by little we relativize them and banish them.
Surely, before embarking on a trip to a distant and unknown destination, you may have fears and insecurities such as: “Am I going to feel alone?” And even, depending on the destination you choose, you may feel that you risk being robbed on the street or not being able to understand people if you have any problem.
The reality is that exposing ourselves to fears is the best way to overcome them. Many people have gone on a trip before and only a minority has experienced something serious. Allow yourself to get to know a new culture and you will overcome your insecurities.
8. It makes you rethink a lot of things
Spending time away from home can expand your way of seeing things and life in general. Your priorities may change, from now on you will give less importance to material things and values more other things that you did not value before.
9. Encourage you to be more empathetic
Changing context and immersing yourself in a new city and culture hitherto unknown offers you the possibility of relativizing your daily problems and putting yourself in the shoes of other people who, perhaps, have a much more complicated life than yours.
This can help you to be more empathetic and to be able to appreciate that other people may have different value systems.
10. You learn constantly
Living unique experiences in environments other than those we are used to providing us with learning and knowledge that improve us as people. It gives us another vision about things, about relationships, about religion, about how different cultures face life.
Also, the habit of traveling provides us with the tools so that we can question our day to day and our deepest values. Knowing new things empowers us with abilities and capacities that we had latent, and develops our critical spirit.