How Travelling Can Help You Fight Depression
Are there times when you feel that the whole world is plotting against you? No matter how hard you try, how well you plan, things still don’t go as desired? Do you feel suffocated…….fight to breathe freely and feel really alone in this whole wide world? Yet, you don’t want anyone near you? Well…. at some point in time, many people experience one or more of these symptoms during different phases of their lives. For some, this could just be a passing phase, whilst for some others this could drag on for quite a long period of their lives. Either way, you need to take stock of the situation and control over your life. Lucky are those who are able to talk themselves out of it rationally and quickly but there are many who start drowning in their circumstances and can’t get themselves to move on or seek help of their loved ones or professionals in time!
So before it gets too late or you reach this extreme stage, always remember that it helps to remove or separate yourself from a particular (negative) situation, place or person. You need a different environment, different people and different things to occupy your mind and divert your attention. This does not mean you are running away, but it just gives you time to numb the pain, focus your energy on something else more appealing or positive and help you see things from a different perspective (angle) after a span of time and interaction with different people.
And travelling, whether for a short time or long period, does just that! Here are the possible reasons:
1) Planning your destination and itenary makes you focus on something different.
At such times, even though you may detest making travel/ holiday plans due to feelings of sadness, guilt, depression or frustration, push those thoughts to a corner of your mind and focus on drawing up a detailed travel plan deliberately. Just the activity of choosing a place for your holiday, deciding the activities or itinerary for the trip and dealing with the task of packing etc. temporarily forces you to exercise your brain and think sensibly. Even for just a little while, but it takes your mind off the distressing circumstances and gets your brain to tick in the right direction.
2) A different atmosphere or environment makes you feel energized and alive.
Mother nature has its own way of healing the mind and the body. A different setting or change of scene from your current one can do wonders for you. Whether the crisp mountain air and beauty of greenery or the relaxing waves on a lazy beachfront, beautiful natural surroundings tend to have a calming effect on our senses and make us experience a feeling of awe. This, very often lifts our spirits high and may dispel that feeling of depression, even if just for a little while. In other words, the world itself can act as a natural anti-depressant.
3) The freedom to ‘just be’.
Dealing with our daily routine, stress and obligations takes a lot out of each one of us and any kind of unpleasant situation/ happening or event only compounds our worries and eventually takes a toll on our health. So occasionally, we need to just put our legs up and close our mind to the endless commotion within ourselves. Travelling or holidaying lets you do just that as you are not answerable to anyone and can do just anything you like and when you like.
4) Interaction with different people temporarily makes you forget your troubles and see the same situation from a different point of view.
Normally, when in an unhappy or depressed mood, most people tend to avoid meeting new people or bumping into known ones in their home environment. However, while travelling it becomes much easier to mingle and interact with fellow travelers as you share the same experiences. Meeting people from different walks of life helps to change your way of thinking, brings about new ideas and beliefs that may not have occurred to you earlier. Some of these travel friendships can develop into strong bonds and bring about a positive change in you and your outlook on life.
5) Moving around and witnessing other peoples troubles or situations, compels you to look at life differently.
Travel can very often make you encounter various people, in different places, with less fortunate backgrounds or with bigger problems than yours. Such moments force you to step back and objectively take a good long look at your own world and evaluate your life. This can help you open your eyes and make you more thankful for the good and positive things and people in your life.
Travelling may not give you quick-fixes for your problems or state of mind, but all those big and small decisions you had to make during your travels, will help you return with a more positive frame of mind, ready to face your daily challenges more creatively than before.
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