7 ways travelling overseas benefits your health

Travelling overseas makes you feel good. (Rawpixel pic)

Travelling to other countries has changed considerably over the last few decades. If you ask your parents or your grandparents, yes they will have travelled but it’s the attitudes towards travelling that differs the most.

The motivation to travel today is growing, with most millennials choosing to prioritise spending their money on experiences over materialistic items.

There are many reasons why you find travelling to other countries attractive – it can be the adventure, the cultural differences or even the Instagram pictures. The common denominator is the feeling that it gives you.

Travelling overseas makes you feel good, whether it’s a short city break or a six-month stint in London. There’s something about the freshness of an environment, the different air and spending time with your family and friends that makes you feel good.

However, just like the rise in travel over the last few years, there has also been a rise in people suffering from mental health issues.

One in eight people under the age of 19 in England has a mental health disorder. How can you support and prevent future generations from battling with mental health? Here are seven benefits of travelling overseas.

1. Boosts mental health

There isn’t a complete solution to mental health issues, but there are extensive ways to support those struggling with this disorder, from medication to therapy and now CBD oils.

What you may not be aware of is the correlation between good mental health and travelling abroad.

When you put the words “travel” and “mental health” together, there’s an instant parallel – be it “I can’t wait to relax”, “I can’t wait to take a break” or “I can’t wait for a week of all-inclusive food and drink.”

Whatever it may be, your head immediately flicks the switch to “relaxation mode” and you’re finally in your happy place.

2. Helps you ‘find’ yourself

When your mental health is suffering, finding yourself again is a positive step in the right direction.

Travelling gives you the opportunity and time to evaluate yourself, your thoughts and how you choose to change or adapt these for the better.

Doing this overseas has a much deeper impact as you’re taking yourself away from your normal lifestyle and reflecting with a fresh mindset.

3. Acts as a stress buster

Any time away from work and the hustle and bustle of everyday life is a great stress reliever.

You don’t always have to sit around and relax to relieve stress. By keeping your days busy and occupying your mind with different activities like sightseeing or a boat trip, you will also switch off, refresh and rejuvenate.

Travelling is a great way to re-discover yourself. (Rawpixel pic)

4. Strengthens your immune system

Because you are being exposed to different environments, travelling can build your immune system and make your body stronger.

When abroad, you will be exposed to new environments and scenarios that you sometimes cannot avoid.

Eating street food, using public transport or participating in crazy excursions will expose you to new germs and bacteria.

For someone with a mental health disorder, this can be a little scary, but isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Exposing yourself can make you fight off illness more effectively in the future.

This isn’t to suggest that you ignore basic hygiene rules – remember hand sanitiser is your best friend, but be open to your surroundings and know that it is only making your body stronger.

5. Helps you understand different cultures

Travelling abroad isn’t always about beaches and five-star hotels. You may choose to visit countries where the culture and meaning of life is far different from your own.

Seeing how other people live can make you view your life in a different perspective and help you understand different cultures.

6. Builds mental resilience

Traveling overseas isn’t always plain sailing. It can throw unexpected curve balls and leave you in a position you didn’t expect to be in.

Dealing with these scenarios can be particularly difficult as the solution isn’t always straightforward. This forces you out of your comfort zone and become more flexible and adaptable.

Those struggling with mental health can find this overwhelming and daunting, but it’s a great way to build your mental resilience and learn to be more patient, calm and mentally strong in the future.

7. Boosts your physical health

Going on holiday, you’ll have better peace of mind if all of your documents are ready. Be aware of countries that need visas. Paperwork can be messy but these days most applications are online.

Ensure that your passport is current as it needs a minimum of six months prior to expiry before you can travel.

Research where you’re going so that you know their customs and traditions.

Traveling overseas is not just better for mental health but also for physical health. The most important part is to remember to take in everything that you experience and take the plunge if faced with something new.

Create memories on your next holiday and your health will be better for it.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg and host of The DRH Show. You can connect with him on Twitter @drelojo_howell