There are two types of depression: a diagnosed clinical depression and the occasional sadness that we sometimes feel when things take a turn for the unexpected in life.
How Traveling Can Help Fight Depression
If you are diagnosed with clinical depression, then it’s best to follow up on the advice your medical practitioner gives you. However, if you or someone in your family feels sad or lonely, then you can try to overcome this type of depression with the help of some newly-introduced traveling in your life.
Below, are several key takeaways of How Traveling Can Help Fight Depression:
Traveling Opens You Up to New and Unique Situations
When you’re under the influence of depression, you tend to feel sad, lonely, isolated or alienated from others. As these feelings keep coming back, they have the tendency to become recurring, and you can enter a vicious cycle of backs and forths with your mind that makes it look like something is always wrong with you 24/7.
These are powerful negative thoughts that usually ends up hampering your ability to change scenery and explore new things, which only further reinforces that vicious negative cycle.
Traveling cracks-open that cycle simply because while traveling, your brain has to think about a million other things other than depression. Things like the logistics of travel, booking itineraries, making sure you’re always boarding your flight on time, and countless other chores make it virtually impossible to go back to why you felt sad in the first place.
Truth be told however, distractions can’t really cure clinical depression, but they can provide a good starting point to train your brain to respond positively to external stimuli.
Plus, creating new memories can help you “push out” the recurring negative thoughts by strengthening the nerves and synapses in your brain responsible for triggering pleasure and well-being, among other known sensations.
Traveling Can Unleash Your Imagination
Experiencing another culture is a guaranteed way to expand you and your family’s horizons and make you more open to new experiences in life. In fact, one of the key advantages of witnessing a different group of people is to become aware of those small things we never knew even existed before.
As a result, our imaginations start running wild and begin to come up with new ideas on the spot. This exposure to a different way of living overrides the pathways in the brain that trigger depression and paves the way for further positive development.
Traveling Unwraps the Bigger Picture
Watching the world from above gives us a whole new perspective of what the real values in life are. For example, when you board a plane and take the window seat, a simple glance from above puts your life in perspective and allows for a chance to contemplate what it really means to be human.
This is what I call the “airplane perspective”. Now imagine the astronauts in the International Space Station as they do a spacewalk and look at the Earth in all its glory; imagine what that feeling might be like and how much more powerful it is than the “airplane perspective”.
This is colloquially known as the “cosmic perspective”, and it’s more empowering than anything you can ever experience during the course of your lifetime.
Not everyone, however, can become an astronaut, but this is where traveling comes into play. To better understand how it can help you and your loved ones fight depression, think of traveling as a lesser, but equally powerful “cosmic perspective”, or an amplified “airplane perspective”.
When you take yourself out of the picture (plane, a deep vastness of space), it can help you to take a much-needed step back and evaluate your personal problems from a different point of view, help you de-stress and live a happier life!
Traveling Builds up New Associations
When you and your loved ones stay at home almost all of the time, nearly everything you come into contact with – be it objects, pictures, or space itself – reminds you of our current state. Sometimes a reality check is just what you need.
Traveling can elicit a state of awe which, again, can override the negative emotional cycle and remove you from the environment in which you and your family have been feeling down.
In fact, even if your family members can’t come with you on the trip, the sole notion that you’re out there exploring the world can bring a much-needed vigor in their lives as well. Yes, traveling is that powerful.
Travel to an International Destination
The farther you go, the more effective this traveling treatment will be. If you’re stuck for places, try to book an itinerary for an international destination such as Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, or another “exotic” country overseas. Make sure to prepare for your trip as well, since a logistical mishap is the last thing that you’d want to happen.
Here’s a quick checklist of things you’ll need for traveling overseas:
*Visa (if applicable for the country you will be visiting)
*Medications and insurance
*Country or region-specific vaccinations
*Local currency or a working credit or debit card (Visa and MasterCard are usually your two best bets)
Having a valid passport is a given, but some countries may also require to get a visa as well. Usually, your government will have an online list of which countries require a visa, and where and how to acquire it.
Additionally, packing medications are the next logical step in this process, but also keep in mind that some medications such as insulin or blood pressure would possibly require a written doctor’s permit to pass airport security.
Some countries may require region-specific vaccinations, so make sure to be on the lookout for that. If your traveling to Asia, taking a Visa or a MasterCard will solve everything payment-related, but it’s also a wise move to take some local currency for ‘just in case‘.
Finally, if you’re planning on snapping some high-quality photos and then showing them to your family back home, you’ll also need a decent camera. Besides that, however, you’ll also need someone to edit your photos into a neatly packed album, and Wandersnap has the perfect tools to do just that.
Clinical depression is a serious condition that requires much thought and an opinion from a certified healthcare practitioner on how to treat it. In light of this, traveling is not the final answer to depression but is a great first step to help you break the negative cycle and start experiencing life to the fullest.