Summer is a time when many of us look forward to taking a long-planned vacation. Many of my most cherished memories come from trips with my family as a child – and the journeys I’ve taken with my own children.
These adventures help us step away from the everyday routines of our lives to explore places that are refreshingly different. We return with new stories and perspectives that are a joy to share with others.
Many of us worry that travel is too stressful these days. Long security lines at the airport and the rising cost of gasoline can be daunting. Yet despite these concerns, studies show that taking regular vacations will actually improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are 5 benefits we can all enjoy by getting out of town.
1. TRAVEL IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
A joint study by the Global Commission on Aging, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and the U.S. Travel Association shows that travel keeps us healthier. Researchers found that women who vacation at least twice a year faced significantly lower risks of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so.
The same is true for men. In fact, men who do not take an annual vacation show a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent greater risk of heart disease.
2. IT’S A GREAT WAY TO EASE STRESS
While mishaps on the road may cause momentary anxiety, travel has been proven to reduce the overall levels of stress we experience.
A study outlined in the Very Well Mind blog notes that, three days after taking a vacation, travelers report feeling less anxious, more rested and in a better mood. Interestingly, these benefits last for weeks after the trip has ended.
3. TRAVEL GIVES US A CREATIVE BOOST
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School who has studied the links between creative thought and international travel.
Galinksy says that, when we immerse ourselves in different cultures and environments, we are literally able to think differently. Fresh perspectives stimulate our ability to see things in ways we haven’t before.
4. TRAVEL MAKES US HAPPY EVEN BEFORE WE LEAVE HOME
Travel can make us feel excited, even blissful. But did you know that people experience a direct increase in happiness simply by planning a trip?
A Cornell University study found that the anticipation of taking a vacation gave people more pleasure than looking forward to a major purchase – for example, a new car. Apparently, the benefits of traveling begin well before we hit the road!
5. TRAVEL HELPS PREVENT DEPRESSION
While travel does not replace the steps that must be taken if you are currently experiencing depression, it can serve as a valuable part of your recovery plan – and also prevent future episodes of depression from happening.
A study from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who vacation at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than those who vacation less than once every 2 years.
RESOURCES TO GET YOU STARTED
If you’d love to get away soon but you’re not sure where to begin, there’s plenty of help available. For inspiration, try reading a few of the wonderful travel blogs out there. You’ll find there are great travel writers with tips on where to go, how to travel on a budget, how to plan trips with friends and much more.
While many people book their own trips these days, there are still plenty of travel agents who are happy to design a custom vacation for you. Here are tips from Travel + Leisure magazine that you can use to find the perfect agent for your needs.
LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE
As a therapist working with adults of all ages Oak Park, I am here to support your health and wellness. If travel is something you’ve only dreamed of doing, I encourage you to make those dreams come true! I know you will benefit in ways you never imagined.
If you need support and encouragement in creating the life you want, I am happy to meet with you. Please call me at 708-990-3867, or click here to request an appointment at the time that’s convenient for you.