Travel, As A Therapy, To Overcome Depression And Recover The Joy Of Living.
Although life is a constant cycle, and one cannot be happy one hundred percent of the time, prolonged sadness, melancholy and lack of imagination, indicate that we are facing the symptoms of depression. Depression can become a severe problem, so it is important to be alert before the first signs.
A person with depression, especially if it is severe depression, needs treatment, and professional support because living with depression requires daily work to overcome it.
What causes depression?
There is no single cause for depression, and the reasons can be from genetic to stressful situations such as the loss of a loved one, from work or the difficulty to adapt to new and complicated situations.
Therefore, with so many possible causes, anybody can fall victim to depression at some point in their life.
It is important to be very aware of our feelings and be open to alternative ways that allow us to change the way we see the world. Opening ourselves to new experiences is an efficient way to control depression, recover energy and find the strength to look forward again with optimism.
Travelling as a way to overcome depression
If opening ourselves up to new experiences is one of the strategies to overcome depression, then there’s nothing more efficient than beating it, through travel. When we travel, we experience different cultures and lifestyles around the world that we were unaware of before, which helps us to become more aware of what is happening around the world.
While traveling, we need to stay more attentive than we usually are during our daily lives. We meet new people, live new experiences, and face different situations, keeping our brain busy, “distracted” from the negative thoughts that produce depression.
All this accumulation of new situations causes our brain to release endorphins and oxytocin, known as “the hormones of happiness,” making us feel good, with energy and putting us in a good mood.
If anyone, depressed or not, is happy to take a few days off and escape the routine, when it comes to overcoming depression, a trip can have immediate and lasting benefits. Of course, when we talk about taking a trip that really helps not only to change our mood but also helps in changing the way we perceive ourselves.
When planning a trip to overcome depression, ensure that you are with someone who you love to spend time with, preferably to a place where you have not been before. That way, each step will be a discovery, and our brain will produce more and more hormones of happiness.
And finally, remember to take advantage of all its potential beneficial effects, the trip has to last several days (as many as possible) – a safe weekend getaway will distract us but not for long.
What are the beneficial effects of traveling if we suffer from depression?
We have already said that when we travel, we leave our routine and our known world. The trip is continuous learning, a process that we cannot avoid and therefore keeps us more alive.
Remember that staying alert and learning takes you away from the deterioration caused by age.
The trip exposes us to unique situations
One of the effects of depression is feelings of isolation. When we are depressed, we feel disconnected from the world and the people around us and focus on negative thoughts that isolate us even more.
The trip forces us out of isolation, confronts us with new places and keeps us in a constant state of surprise. While traveling (more if we do it alone) we come across people who we have never met and in many situations, we will have to take into account the needs of others, which will cause us to stop thinking only of our feelings. In the long term, new people, realities, and experiences will help the brain change the way our own mind sees life.
Travel helps us to discover our true capabilities
Lower self-esteem is another unfortunate symptom faced by people with depression, where feelings of “not being good enough” leads us to underestimate ourselves. But when we travel, we face situations where our capabilities are tested, and we can do things that we thought were impossible.
While we are traveling, we are free, nobody knows us, and nobody cares who we are in “real life.” We can be who we want to be, nobody will criticise us, and nobody will expect us to behave in a certain way. We are strangers in a world of strangers.
Just knowing this helps us break ties; we can eat, make or go wherever we want. That feeling of absolute freedom, of being free of burdens, is essential to overcome depression and to discover ourselves.
Travelling shows us a new perspective
When we are depressed, we lose the ability to look at our life with enough perspective. We are not able to see beyond our immediate reality, and therefore we cannot evaluate our problems correctly.
When traveling, our world opens. We can see our daily life in perspective as if it were a huge complete picture and as a result, we can see more clearly everything around us and evaluate our true possibilities.
Everything we live and learn during the trip can help us think differently and in the long term, help to overcome depression.
The world itself becomes a natural antidepressant
The beauty of nature can be overwhelming and have a surprising effect on us and on our mood. Being in touch with nature and contemplating landscapes that we have never seen before and that are far from being part of our daily life can become the best natural antidepressant we can have.
Whether it is a long walk between forests, reaching the top of a mountain, listening to the thunder of a great river or diving into the bottom of the sea to discover the extraordinary marine life can have a peaceful and lasting effect on our mood.
For all these reasons, traveling can become the best cure against depression. If sadness and discouragement invade us, let’s take a deep breath and for a moment let’s leave everything behind to embark on the adventure of traveling. The trip is a process of discovery, discovery of the world around us, discovery of different and unique people and, perhaps most importantly, the discovery of ourselves, and our abilities.
And when the trip ends, just remembering the moments lived, the greatness of nature and everything we were able to do, will be an excellent antidote to never fall back into sadness. If the trip ends and you find that you are still feeling sad or depressed, it’s critical to seek help. Click here to connect with licensed mental health professionals who can help you.