Guest Post by Luana Weaver
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 out of 20 Americans 12 years of age and older reported being depressed. Why are so many people blue when there is so much to live for? The problem is circumstantial for many. They have stressful jobs, a turbulent family life and medical problems. Others, who have a family history of mental illness, may be genetically linked to a depressive disorder.
Everything can be going right in life, yet getting out of bed each day can be a major struggle. More and more, people take antidepressants to combat anxiety and depression. Currently, it is estimated that there are 42 million Americans taking antidepressant medications. Could one thing help to ease their angst? Traveling has been noted to combat depression. Here are six ways exploring new places can improve mental health:
1. You Meet New and Exciting People
Think back over your life. Many people have had an impact on you and because of them, you are who you are. What if you never met those people? Traveling allows you to meet new and exciting people who can play a role in helping you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Getting to know others and listening to their stories can be inspiring. Sometimes, it helps to know that people have similar problems or are even worse off than you are. If these people can go on with life smiling, then you can too.
2. You Realize Life Can Be an Adventure
The worst thing you can do for your depression is sit and stare at the four walls. Going outside and enjoying the fresh air has a nurturing effect on your body and mind. Depression is so common among the elderly because they cannot get out and enjoy life as they once did. Life is a journey, and if you stop being adventurous, it takes a toll on your mental health. Everyone has difficulties in life. Travel as a way to become more adventurous can pour new life into you, which can help you push depression away and deal with the real disconcerting factors.
3. You Experience Cultural Diversity
Your mind may be suffering from severe boredom. This might be the reason you’re depressed. Stepping outside your customary cultural norms, can help. Traveling allows you to enjoy a new culture, and this can be quite thrilling. Give yourself and other people a break. Being with the same people day in and day out can be mundane. Spice up your life with people from various backgrounds who have a whole new view on life.
4. You Look at Life Differently
One way to lessen the negative feelings of depression is to realize that it may not be as bad as you think. When you are going through a bad phase, the dark clouds seem to be looming only over you. Branching out and meeting new folks, can show you that so many others have it worse. It does something to your psyche to see people with worse situations going through life happy. It’s a mind over matter thing. When you notice others enjoying life, it sends a message to your inner being that you too can overcome difficult times. Being more thankful by practicing gratitude, and appreciating what you have, can help you overcome a difficult phase in your life.
5. You Get a Boost of Confidence
Many people suffer from depression because they lack confidence. Traveling can give you a significant mental boost. If you have what it takes to be yourself in a place where you don’t know anyone, then you can make it anywhere. What about a place where you don’t even speak the same language? You can still live in peace even when there are language barriers. When your confidence is high, you won’t have to be concerned about your sadness anymore.
6. You Learn to Enjoy Life Again
When you are stuck in an endless routine of work, home, dinner, dishes, and all the other things you must do, then it is easy to get in a rut. A lack of entertainment can be a big part of your depression. You need to bust out of your routine and enjoy something you wouldn’t normally do. There are so many activities that you can enjoy along the journey. Do something that you haven’t done before―see new places, meet new people, and enjoy life. When you are enjoying life, you gain a new perspective and start to feel better.
It’s Time To Start Living Again
Studies show that too many people are turning to a pill bottle to solve their issues. Many of the answers to your struggles may be in your actions and circumstances. Even if you can’t visit faraway lands, explore somewhere new. The first step is picking up the phone or laptop and making those reservations. Give yourself something to look forward to, then the rest will be easy. You will see how easy it is to improve your mood by simply getting out and doing something different.
Luana is a travel blogger from Colorado and works as an editor for Route4us, a luxury travel magazine. She understands that traveling isn’t just hidden poetry. It’s experiencing the best a place has to offer and that’s where her drive comes when she’s sharing her story.
The Virtues for Life website is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition.