Travel more, your brain will thank you
Vacations! One of our favorite words. Traveling produces a feeling of uncontrollable happiness with enriching moments that break our routines and motivates us to live new experiences in new places, learning new things and creating a set of positive emotions. How do our brains react when we go on vacation? From experience, we all know that traveling makes us feel better, it keeps us in a good mood, and even the unforeseen events that happen seem funny to us to the point of even considering them as good anecdotes to tell.
Science claims that traveling is a life experience. Knowing new places and enjoying the culture of the places we visit stimulates our brain and is rewarding for our cognitive system. Neural connections strengthen our minds when we strive to adapt to a new environment, learning a new language and increasing our bodily mobility or interpersonal relationships. Going on vacation will always be an experience that will challenge our brain and bring us more benefits and positive changes.
Traveling takes us out of our comfort zone, even if you always go to the same destination to visit family. Places that are not part of our daily life make us vulnerable. It motivates us to learn and develop skills to feel comfortable and have a better adaptation. Our mind must be willing to know and accept the place as it is, with its culture, its people, its customs, and gastronomy. That makes us return to our origins with new knowledge and understand that each place is unique.
Change life perception
When we visit a new place, everything is new. That makes us value what we have or long for what we don’t have. Discovering new places always change our perspective of the life we know, and we learn that there are many new things to learn. Traveling can even become a way of life. Without a doubt, after going on vacation, your way of seeing life will never be the same again.
Strengthen your relationships
It is evident that by traveling we meet new people as we interact with them. It also strengthens relationships and trust with the people who accompany you during the trip, creating a feeling of well-being. Social relationships protect our brain because having a vast network of friends makes us feel supported. Recreational activities with friends are healthy for the brain, as they relieve us of stress, amuse us and make us laugh.
It makes us smarter
Being away from our routine is a constant mental challenge. While we are on vacation, our brain is trying harder to do so. It has to solve some tasks that it interprets as a challenge, no matter how simple they seem. Getting away from our daily problems allows us to broaden our vision and find ways to solve them or learn to accept them once we have already seen life from another perspective.
Getting in touch with new cultures takes us out of our comfort zone and predisposes us better to others. New smells, tastes, languages, sensations can revitalize the mind thanks to the neural pathways since these are very sensitive to the changes that occur around us. Experiences outside of everyday life increase cognitive flexibility.
It improves the ability to solve problems
When we expose our brain to new situations it activates our neural networks to learn as much as possible. These changes translate into a way to train our brain to solve tasks effectively, which benefits our attention and processing speed. Strong neural networks are synonymous with speed. Strong neural networks are synonymous with speed when traveling, our brain will always be active, and our lucidity will increase.
It is healthy
No matter how short your vacation is, getting away from it all is an adventure that relaxes you, increases dopamine, and lowers your stress level. We can notice this from the moment we select the destination, reserve our accommodation and plan the itinerary. Taking a trip is rewarding, and it reduces cortisol (a stress hormone). Large amounts can lead to poor cognitive performance, fatigue, weight gain, and cause illness.
So, whenever you want to think about your health, travel!
After knowing what happens in your brain when you travel it sure makes you want to plan your next vacation. Remember that we need to think about times, distances or budgets. Just be determined and let your curiosity guide you to strengthen your mind.