"There isn't a better therapist than a great vacation," believes Sohail Mirchandani, the chief operating officer and co-founder of Ekostay, which offers budget and luxury homestay options all over India. In these stressful times, prioritising mental health above everything is not a choice but absolutely essential to improve the quality of life. Travel often helps us improve our mental health, allowing us to seek tranquillity in the midst of chaos.
Not convinced? Here are 5 ways in which travel can enhance your mental health
1. Takes you out of your comfort zone
Many people hate discomfort and change in any form. They expect everything pre-planned and hassle-free. Travel, especially if you choose to do things you usually don't do, such as talking to strangers or eating a meal alone, can help you get out of your comfort zone and be more open to new experiences, increasing self-confidence and emotional resilience. And yes, travel can be a great learning experience, especially when you use it to add value to yourself. The key is to embrace enriching experiences wholeheartedly when you travel. For instance, take a hobby class in another country and pick up new skills.
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2. Teaches you self-reliance and resilience
A vacation, especially if it is solo travel, allows you to pause life and gives you space for self-reflection. Having this time and space to get in touch with yourself helps you bring clarity to your decision-making, breaking patterns of co-dependency.
3. Boosts creativity and productivity
Since travel forces you to step out of your comfort zone, whether it is to learn a new language, make new connections, learn about a new culture or try your hand at a new cuisine, you tend to know more after a journey than before it. This, in turn, helps enhance productivity and creativity when you return back to work.
4. Helps you manage your moods better
Research proves that thinking about past travelling experiences releases happy hormones and regulates your mood. In general, travel is a great stress-buster as it forces you to pause, reflect and equip yourself with the mental acumen needed to deal with problems better. Travelling also improves problem-solving skills, equips you to handle panic and chaos more effectively and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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5. Enhances your sense of self
There are times you are so caught up in proving your mettle at work and home that the constant effort can lead to demotivation and loss of self-worth. Travelling, whether it is to an exotic beach destination or to a local farm where you pick your own organic vegetables and relish a simple farm-cooked meal, shifts that. Experiencing different cultures helps open new perspectives of living, which often makes us more self-contained, happy human beings.
(Inputs from Sohail Mirchandani, chief operating officer & co-founder of Ekostay, a homestay venture and Aditi Surana, high-performance coach and founder of APT mental gym)