How Traveling Can Beat Depression (Or A Heartache)
Depression is a serious medical condition that can greatly affect how you feel, think and behave. As matter of fact, it may lead to an array of emotional and physical problems. Unlikely being fashionably sad just like the French, it’s like this black hole inside of you that sucks every light of day, every bit of happiness, and every glimmer of hope.Traveling, on the other hand, is an exciting activity where humans go back to their primitive nomadic ways of going from one place to another.
Although this time, it’s not food for the body (well, at least not the only one) that is sought for, but food for the soul.
Traveling is one of the many ways that one can relax and unwind. Although it will not cure you from it, here are reasons why traveling is good for those who suffer from depression:
Travel distracts you
Traveling breaks the monotony of your life. It drags you out of your usual routine. It distracts you from the things that trigger your depression as it keeps you preoccupied. Whether it’s the extravagantly exciting activities like hiking up the trails to see the majestic Neuschwanstein Castle or jumping out of a plane to skydive over the Palm Jumeirah Island, traveling will keep your mind off things and warp you into a whole new world where all you have to think of is the here and the now.
Travel makes you appreciate the old and new alike
When you are out to explore a new place, you are too busy enjoying what’s new and looking for what’s common. Traveling introduces you to many things like places, food and people, and most of your time will be spent on discovering them. Aside from enjoying its uniqueness, you will also most likely look for the common denominator of the places that you’re exploring and your home. Because no matter where you are, home will always be home and it is natural for anyone to look for something that will make this foreign haven feel homey.
Travel gives you something to look forward to
Whether it’s trying the sushi in Sukiyabashi Jiro you’ve been reading about for the past months or meeting the people in your tour bus to the Cu Chi Tunnels, traveling will give you a lot of things to be excited about and to look forward to. It sort of helps you transition from succumbing to depressing thoughts to developing a healthy addiction to living life to the fullest and seizing the day. It is a guarantee that once you start traveling, you will not only look forward to what activity is next on your trip’s itinerary, but to what part of the world you are going to go to next.
Travel connects you to other people
When you travel, you are left with no choice but to talk to other people whether it’s only asking for directions or something else. Checking out a new place will force you to engage in conversations, both meaningful and otherwise. It also opens you to the possibility of meeting and making lifetime friends. This helps burst you out of your own bubble and inspires you when you see how others have problems of their own and to what extent they are willing to try to get by.
Travel releases happy hormones
Serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine are hormones that help you be the little miss or mister sunshine that people hope you to be. You get to have a good amount of secretion of these hormones when you travel. Released by getting exposed to sunlight, you can get much serotonin while you enjoy a sunbathing afternoon alone in the shores of Maldives. Climbing Mt. Fuji will also be good for you as endorphins are released when one exercises. You can also up your dopamine while enjoying a plateful of cheese (plus wine, of course) in France.
Travel gives you a pocketful of sunshine
With all the experiences you gain in each trip you take, traveling allows you to store millions of memories in your memory bank. These are helpful most especially when all things seem to be bleak and you just need a boost to start the day or to get going. Looking at old photos or videos of your past trips or just thinking about how much fun you had will help you get through tough times. Traveling indeed gives you all the more reasons to be happy.
Travel gives you a new perspective of life
Traveling will widen your horizons by allowing you to discover those unknown to you and introduces you to the unfamiliar. Along with this novelty is the chance to get new perspectives about life every now and then. It doesn’t only make you see the different walks of life, but also allows you to walk side by side with them, or sometimes to really live them, like when you allow yourself to immerse in a community. While traveling allows you to discover the world, it also allows you to discover yourself and the endless possibilities that this world has to offer.
Traveling may not release you from the chains of depression, but it may loosen the grip of the chains to give you a breather or lengthen the chains to allow you to explore further instead of deplorably finding yourself locked up in your bedroom.
So if you are depressed, you might want to use your vacation leaves or school breaks more wisely by traveling instead of staying in your room to hide from the light of day in order to either binge-watch your favorite TV series or stay curled up in your bed and entertain your saddest thoughts. Whether it’s a month-long vacation abroad or a weekend getaway in the town next to yours, do yourself a favor and take that trip. And just like conquering a new place one travel at a time, traveling the world teaches you that you, too, will conquer each depressing episode of your life one step at a time.