When most people think of travel, they imagine sipping fruit-filled drinks out of a coconut on a beach side resort or hiking up the side of a mountain on a quest to find breathtaking vistas. While those kinds of experiences are certainly a significant part of the experience, there can be additional benefits. Travel not only opens up the world to you, it can also help you to combat depression.
What Exactly is Depression?
Psychology.org defines depression as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It can lead to severe emotional and physical symptoms. In order to be diagnosed as depression, symptoms must persist for longer than two weeks.
Symptoms can include:
- The loss of enjoyment in activities that once brought pleasure.
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Low energy levels
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
- Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the US. In 2015, over 16 million adults in the United States suffered from depression during the year, an estimated 6.7% of the
- population. Depression accounts for 8.3% of all US years lived with disability.
Depression can be effectively treated, with almost all patients finding relief from their symptoms. There are several kinds of treatment available, including medication, electro-convulsive therapy and psychotherapy. Your fist step in fighting depression should be a visit to your physician to discuss the options available to you.
That said, there are activities that will help you cope with your symptoms. The biggest challenge is to fight the urge to disconnect from the world. Some of the things that you can do to help combat the effects of depression include:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a healthier diet
- Exercise more
- Challenge negative thoughts
- Take on responsibilities
- Set goals
- Try something new
How Travel Can Help With Depression
When combating depression, one of the most important things to is to make an effort to stay engaged. Traveling, at its core, is about engagement with the world.
By stepping outside of normal routines, people experience their surroundings in new ways, which can cause feelings of awe and encourage optimistic thoughts. Physical activity is often a significant element of travel, and even the planning of a trip can be both a positive accomplishment and something to look forward to in challenging times.
A 2013 study conducted in a joint effort by the Global Coalition on Aging and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that, when compared with non-travelers, leisure travelers were:
- 25% more likely to feel satisfied with their ability to get things done
- 16% more likely to be satisfied with their physical health and well-being
- 11% more likely to be satisfied with their overall mood and outlook
- 6% more likely to be satisfied with their stress levels
- The study also found that the heaviest travelers reported the highest satisfaction levels in almost all categories.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, be sure to consider travel as an option to help deal with the symptoms!
Written by: Traveling Teacher
Read the full article at: www.travelingteacher.org