Your brain when you travel

Along with building great memories and making all of your Facebook friends jealous, there may be more positive side effects of travelling than you had thought. These are some of the key benefits travelling has on your mind and brain.

A happier you
Have you ever felt that ‘kid-the-night-before-Christmas’ kind of excitement before going on a holiday? You’re not alone. Just thinking about something you’re looking forward to triggers dopamine release, making you feel happy. A study showed that people with a vacation planned were happier than those who didn’t. The conclusion: daydreaming about travelling is good for your body and your mind.

thinking about travel

Opens your mind
Your brain can continue to adapt and change throughout your whole life. Exposure to unfamiliar places, new languages and even foods can jolt your brain out of autopilot and enhance your neuroplasticity. 

Prevents cognitive decay
According to Dr. Michael Merzenish, an expert in brain plasticity, people who travel, experience new things and learn new languages are less likely to develop cognitive decay.

Relieves anxiety and depression
A study of 1500 women over a five-year period found that those who took vacations twice a year were less tense, tired or depressed than those who travelled every two years. The study also revealed that those who travelled more frequently also felt more satisfied in their marriages.

Enhances creativity
A study into the creativity of the world’s top fashion houses suggests that travelling and living overseas encourages the brain to become more cognitively flexible, a key component of creativity.

A better you
Travelling can change your personality for the better. A study of German college students showed that those who lived abroad for a period of time increased their agreeableness, openness and emotional stability. So, if someone’s been bothering you lately, buy them a plane ticket. Or, even better, buy yourself one.

Long lasting happiness
A South Korean study has shown that you come back from vacation with more than some photos and a tan. In fact, emotional benefits and reports of higher life satisfaction lasted a month after participants returned home from their travels.

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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