It is easy to become stuck in our daily routines in which we blindly move about our day without being mindful of the world around us. We become comfortable performing mundane tasks in our home and professional lives and although we can still feel happy, how fulfilled are we really? With time, we begin to forget about the big picture and no longer recognize the person we have become, which can result in feelings of depression and anxiety.
According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 percent of adults experience persistent stress or excessive anxiety in their daily lives. Workplace stress and anxiety negatively impacts workplace performance, relationships with coworkers and peers, personal relationships and quality of work.
While not all workplace stress and anxiety can be avoided, research shows that travel provides numerous benefits to our mental health. People often can become intimidated by the word "vacation." However, whether it is taking a day away from responsibilities or a week-long trip to another country, it can work wonders for our mental health. While I have worked in the mental health field for a shorter amount of time, a wise supervisor once told me to take a week off every 4 months to disconnect and gain a new perspective.
According to Psychology Today, Psych Central and Forbes, there are multiple evidence-backed ways traveling is good for your mental health.
1. Traveling broadens our perspective by pushing us out of our comfort zone. When we travel, we are gifted with the knowledge of new cultures, new customs and how to embrace what is different and unique. Traveling has given me a new perspective on what is truly meaningful in life, which includes being able to share our experiences with family and friends.
2. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of life allows to rest, reset and recharge. The Global Commission of Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies have found that after only a day or two, 89% of participants noticed significant reductions in stress. Vacations, whether to new or old places helps us manage stress and rest our minds from our household chores and workload to the present moment.
3. When we travel with our significant others and friends, it can make our relationships stronger. Traveling not only teaches you a lot about yourself but can teach you about your travel partner. Sharing what the world has to offer with the people who are most important to us creates an unbreakable emotional bond.
4. Traveling not only promotes happiness during and after vacation but the anticipation of planning your next adventure improves mood. Cornell University found that we experience higher degrees of happiness when we are anticipating vacation then when we buy a new material possession. Experiencing the newness in the world helps rewire our brains and boost self-confidence.
5. Personal and professional responsibilities will always come with a certain degree of stress. However, experiencing new places and living outside our comfort zone can increase mental resiliency. When we are able to navigate the unknown successfully, we learn to be more flexible, patient and emotionally strong.
Remember to always take time for yourself and your mental health because we can only take care of others when we first take care of ourselves.
Happy World Mental Health Day!!