Traveling to better your mental health and perspective

Julia Canellis, Staff Writer

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With assignment deadlines, extracurricular activities, and friends, a teen’s life can be stressful. However, there is something you can do to ease the problems: travel! Not only is traveling an exciting way to meet new people and see new places, but it also benefits your mental health. Travel provides a way to break the cycle of everyday life. Traveling may also help you decide what you really want to do with your life, by being able to experience new things out of your day to day life.

Traveling is a great way to change up your everyday routine. Being able to physically leave your house, your neighborhood, and your familiar surroundings is a terrific way to gain new perspective. Most time energy and creativity can be found outside of your routine. Most teens have a strict morning routine they stick to everyday. They wake up, eat breakfast, change clothes, brush teeth, catch up on any homework. This routine might just be killing your creativity.

Science proves that we are less creative when we are groggy in the morning. Having a routine will most likely cause a buildup of stress to meet the demands of the routine. If part of your routine is to read a few chapters of a book you need to finish and you don’t complete that task in the time you have, you will be feeling guilty and slightly unaccomplished the rest of the day. Traveling gifts you with the ability to change everything up.
Waking up in a new place means you can have a new plan every day. Who knows–your plan may be spontaneous by not planning anything at all. However, as the days unfold on your trip, you’re providing yourself with the chance to broaden your horizons and become a little more creative. You can try meditation, horseback riding, or even take an art or cooking class. These are calming activities that will benefit you mentally because you are finally relaxing from life’s everyday stresses.

Traveling can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. With pressure to decide where you want to go to college and what kind of job you want to have, it can be stressful to choose when you haven’t experienced the world yet. Thankfully, taking a week trip away from home can open your eyes to all of the opportunities that are not within your community. Traveling presents new cultures, foods, people, architecture, and landscapes to remind you that there are many different ways of doing things. By gaining new experiences, you will be able to take your wisdom and apply it to your outlook on life. So maybe now instead of taking a Buzzfeed quiz to predict what your future life will be like, you will be able to really see it and make a decision you are confident in.

Still not convinced? Here are some statistics that will get you planning a trip real soon. First, it lowers the risk of depression. A study from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who vacation twice a year are actually less likely to have depression and chronic stress than women who vacation less than once every two years. Also, the excitement and buildup of taking a trip have a positive effect on your mental health. A study found that the anticipation of taking a vacation is much greater than the anticipation of having a physical possession. This shows that the benefits of traveling begin well before the trip actually occurs. Finally, a study from the Global Commission on Aging and TCRS, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association found that women who vacation at least twice a year show a significantly lower risk of having a heart attack than those women who travel every six years or so. This is also similar to men. Men who do not take a yearly vacation show a 30 percent greater risk of heart disease and a 20 percent higher risk of death.

So, tell your parents it’s time to get a move on! Before the next holiday break, book your flight or hop in your car with an open mind. Traveling itself may just change your life for the better!

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