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Science Proves That Traveling Can Boost Your Health And Overall Well-Being

Science Proves That Traveling Can Boost Your Health And Overall Well-Being

If there was a way you could improve your health and overall well-being (and that of your loved ones too), you would take it, right?

Well, numerous studies have found taking time off to travel not only gives us a breather from work, but also boosts our health, state of mind and overall well-being.

Those who love traveling know just how invigorating and exciting it can be. Nothing helps you rediscover yourself and enjoy the beauty of the world quite like a well planned vacation. Some of the ways exploring the world can enhance your well-being are quite intriguing, surprising even.

Here’re some interesting ways travelling boosts your health and well-being all backed by science.

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1. Planning a trip itself increases your sense of happiness.

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK conducted a study in 2002 and found that people are happiest when they have a trip coming up. We experience a greater sense of joy and feel great about our own health, our families’ economic situation and general quality of life when we have a vacation on the horizon than people who don’t.

In fact, a more recent study in 2014 from Cornell University discovered that people get more happiness from anticipating a travel experience than from anticipating possession of something they’re going to buy or acquire. So, plan that trip. It could be the best thing you do for your well-being.

2. Traveling helps you manage stress and negative emotions.

Sometimes we just want to get as far away from a place. Travelling isn’t always about seeing new places. Sometimes it’s about escaping old ones. According to a 2013 Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association, vacations can help manage stress and negative emotions by removing us from environments and activities that are the sources of our stress.

Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do” agrees and adds that travelling also helps reset our emotions. We are more compassionate with ourselves and others vacationing—especially when we escape near the water.

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He explains:

“Often associated with feelings of awe and wonder, water can boost our empathy and compassion, our connection to ourselves and those we are with, and for many – from musicians like Pharrell Williams to neurologists like Oliver Sacks – it’s a steady source of creativity and insight.”

3. Traveling reduces the chance of depression.

Our modern lifestyles, characterized by constant busyness, lead to the stress, irritability and negative effects on our productivity, efficiency and well-being many of us lament. The situation is so bad that women who vacation less than once every two years are more likely to suffer from depression and stress than women who vacation at least twice a year, according to a 2005 study by the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin. Thankfully, when it comes to the benefits of travelling, stress relief tops the list.

Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, a think tank focused on the products and ideas that drive consumer decisions, explains how traveling helps relieve stress and improve our overall well-being. She writes:

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“There are lots of psychological benefits from change of venue from home and work to ‘third places’ devoted to just experiencing the environment. With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome.”

Humans thrive on novelty, she adds, and travel offers the complete package with new faces, sounds and sights. We feel happier, well-rested and more energized when we get back from a vacation.

4. Travelling enriches your experiences and understanding of the true essence of life.

Some people think that the more material possessions they accumulate, the greater their happiness will be. However, you’ll soon learn (if you haven’t already) that material goods—cars, mansions, jewelry and so on—tend to depreciate with age, and thus satisfaction with these things tends to decrease over time, whereas rewarding experiences like travelling grow richer over time as they become embellished in memory.

Even short trips can be enriching because you expose yourself to diverse cultures, traditions, passions and perspectives when you travel. Ultimately, you become a more enlightened and engaged citizen of the world. Overtime you might want to trade in your fancy car, but you won’t want to trade in a vacation because that would mean chipping away cherished memories and losing experiences and a part of yourself.

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A 2010 Cornell study found this to be true: Buying travel experiences leaves you happier in the long run than buying things.

5. Traveling reduces your risk of a heart attack.

Cases of heart attack have continued to rise over the years and it’s interesting to note that scientific studies have found men who do not take a vacation for several years are 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Those men who go on vacation regularly are 21 percent less likely to die of such an attack, while women who go on holiday only once every six years are eight times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

As surprising as these findings may be, upon closer inspection you can see why that’s the case. Travelers tend to be more active than those who spend most of their lives sitting in an office chair all day.

Tourists can walk as much as ten miles a day, sightseeing and soaking up attractions in faraway places. Travelers are also more inclined to try new activities while on their travels, such as hiking, paddleboarding and snorkeling. These activities boost physical and mental health.

According to the World Heart Federation, moderate exercise lowers your risk of heart attack by 30% to 50%. So, yes, science agrees that you are doing yourself a big favor when you embrace travelling.

Featured photo credit: Man Walking through a City Park Wearing Hat/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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