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wisdom and wellness

The Power of Travel For Mental Health

Enhancing Well-Being, Personal Growth, and Life Perspective Through New Experiences

Mountain Lake View
Sandy, Utah - The Dell

Travel is often viewed as a luxury, a break from the norm, or an escape from daily responsibilities. However, its benefits go far beyond relaxation and adventure. Travel has profound effects on mental health, personal growth, and gaining a fresh perspective on life.


It fosters appreciation for what you have and provides motivation to change the things you don't. Here's why incorporating travel into your life is essential for your overall well-being.


#1 - Travel for Mental Health Benefits


Have you ever noticed that when you travel, your mind feels refreshed and your mood lifts?


Stepping away from our usual environment gives our minds a chance to reset. The excitement of new surroundings and experiences can significantly boost our mood and reduce anxiety and depression.


In fact, research supports this. A study by the American Psychological Association found that vacations reduce stress by removing us from the environments and activities that cause it, leading to less burnout.


Additionally, a survey by the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, found that travel has long-term mental health benefits: Women who vacation at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress. Similarly, men who do not take annual vacations have a 30% higher risk of developing heart disease.


Personally, every time I take a trip, I feel daily stress melt away. The change of scenery and routine refreshes my mind and helps me return home with a clearer, more positive outlook, provoking inspiration and motivation. Travel allows me to break free from my usual environment, providing an invigorating and necessary mental reset

#2 - Personal Growth


Travel pushes us out of our comfort zones, encouraging personal growth and self-discovery.


Navigating unfamiliar territories teaches us to adapt and become more resilient, skills that translate to other areas of our lives, making us more capable of handling life's ups and downs.


Research by the University of Southern California has shown that travel can increase creativity and problem-solving skills.


Exposure to new cultures and experiences enhances cognitive flexibility, making us more innovative and adaptable. This exposure challenges our usual ways of thinking and forces us to see problems from different angles, fostering greater creativity and resourcefulness.


On my trips, I almost always encounter some challenge, whether it's language barriers, navigating new cities, or dealing with lost luggage and failed plans. Each of these experiences has taught me resilience and adaptability, skills that have greatly benefited me in my daily life.

#3 - Gaining a New Perspective on Life


One of the most valuable aspects of travel is the fresh perspective it offers.


When we step away from our daily routines, we gain a 10,000-foot view of our lives. This distance allows us to see things more clearly and objectively.

A survey by the U.S. Travel Association found that 77% of respondents who travel for leisure report feeling healthier, and 82% report a renewed perspective on life after a trip. Travel can highlight what truly matters to us, revealing our priorities and values. It can also shed light on aspects of our lives that need change.


Every vacation leaves me with new insights, helping me reflect on my life and assess what changes I need to make to improve my overall happiness and well-being. I often return home with a clearer sense of what I value most and a renewed motivation to make positive changes. Whether it's adjusting my daily routine, setting new goals, or simply appreciating the present moment more, travel always provides a valuable reset for my mind and spirit.

#4 - Appreciation and Motivation


Traveling not only helps us appreciate what we have but also motivates us to make positive changes.


When we return home, we often do so with a renewed sense of gratitude for our loved ones, our comforts, and our everyday lives. This appreciation can lead to greater contentment and happiness.


According to a study by Cornell University, the anticipation of an upcoming trip can increase happiness and reduce stress. Furthermore, experiencing new places and cultures can inspire us to improve our own lives, whether it’s adopting healthier habits, pursuing new interests, or making significant life changes.

Personal experience: After every journey, I come home with a deeper appreciation for my life. The people I meet and the places I see inspire me to make positive changes and live more fully with a heart of gratitude.

Hiking New Adventures
Jenna Jahnz Health & Life Coach

I leave you with this:


Incorporating travel into your life is not just about taking a break; it's about investing in your mental health, personal growth, and life perspective. It's about stepping out of your comfort zone, experiencing new things, and gaining a deeper appreciation for what you have. And most importantly, it's about finding the motivation to change the things that don't serve you.


So, as we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month and step into Men’s Health Month, consider making travel a priority. Go somewhere new, do something you love, and return with a fresh outlook on life.


There’s no better gift than loving the life you live and continuously striving to make it better.


Safe travels!


Jenna Jahnz, MSN, RN

Certified Health & Life Coach

Empowerment Hiking Coach

Independent OPTAVIA Coach

Weight Loss Coach


References

  1. American Psychological Association. (2013). The benefits of vacations for mental health.

  2. Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association. (2016). Travel and mental health survey.

  3. University of Southern California. (2014). Travel enhances creativity and problem-solving skills.

  4. U.S. Travel Association. (2018). Leisure travel survey: Health and perspective.

  5. Cornell University. (2015). The happiness and stress-relief benefits of anticipating travel.

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