Living with depression is not the most desirable thing. It is not a tangible feeling of being happy or sad and neither is it a medical condition that can be wiped out with a few tablets every other day (do not quit using medication). It feels like a dark cloud hanging over you and you have to fight your own way through it. Traveling can help fight depression.
Many people suffering from depression have felt a liberating feeling after going on a fun-filled excursion. It has dragged them towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
Traveling does not necessarily mean quitting your job and leaving everything behind or that sort of thing; it can be the kind where you plan and prepare for it. If you can do the former where you quit your day job and do a pilgrimage where you explore your spirituality and sexuality, well and good! The bottom line is: have fun out there.
How beneficial is a trip to someone going through a bout of depression? Here are a few ways in which travel helps you fight depression:
Traveling opens up new neural pathways
When you are depressed, your mind gets caught up in a loop of negative thoughts and it makes you feel isolated. You get used to experiencing dark emotions and it shuts you off from the environmental conditions that can help you overcome these bad feelings. It is worse if you are used to a routine because you get used to things going a certain way and it becomes hard to shake off the negative thoughts.
When you travel, you are forced to experience new situations that trigger different stimuli. You face new challenges and if forces your brain to think differently. In this state, your negative thoughts are slowly replaced by positive ones.
Traveling helps remove external stressors
When you travel to, say the beach, you are released from your normal environment which your brain associates with negative feelings. As such, your usual surroundings are external stressors. A trip comes with a change of scenery. It is liberating to the mind and it helps freshen things up.
You meet new people
Traveling to a new place and engaging in a fun activity while you are there presents you with the chance to meet new people. You strike up conversations with them and you share experiences. Such encounters help you develop a new outlook on life. If you are fortunate, you can make new friends who will actively help you fight depression.
You can engage in new activities guilt-free
When you are out on a trip to, say, a foreign country, you can do activities that you would normally not do at home. You can go kayaking, bungee jumping, white water rafting, or even skydiving. If you are not cut out for such extreme activities, you can sing in a bar, swim, read a book, and get a massage. Such activities help ease your mind.
You experience nature
If you live in a big city where there are many cars, skyscrapers, billboards, and factories, you need to travel to experience Mother Nature. It can be refreshing to go out on a trip to a place where the air is fresh, the birds sing, the water splashes on the rocks, and the crickets chirp at night. Nature can serve as a tonic to your depressed mind.
Depression can be crushing and traveling can relieve the pressure. Traveling calls for initiative and you may feel like it is a lot of work. It is worthwhile. Get out of your comfort zone and embark on your healing journey!