Does Going on Vacation Boost Mental Health?
Many of us must have heard about music therapy and art therapy and how they can help the mind. Perhaps, travel therapy deserves a place among these as it promises real health benefits. One significant benefit of vacation is that it can help to improve mental health.
Having new experiences is typically beneficial to brain function and mental health. And new experiences are symbolic of any vacation. It’s about seeing new places, activities, people, and lifestyles. It’s about sidelining life’s anxieties for a while. Indeed, traveling to beautiful sensational destinations is beyond recreational; it’s an activity that can help reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The research team – a collaboration between tourism, public heath, and marketing experts – primarily investigated how vacationing can benefit people with dementia as a case study. However, they found many aspects of vacationing that could positively impact a person’s mental health and overall well-being.
Traveling can help mental health patients
Dr. Jun Wen, the lead researcher, noted that doctors often recommend music, exercise, cognitive stimulation, and adaptations to new mealtime environments to their dementia patients.
Now, these are things you get to experience when on vacation. Sightseeing and nature can be stimulating to the mind. Moving around town is a form of physical exercise. Not to mention the exceptional amount of sunshine and fresh air you’ll get to experience.
Aside from that, mealtimes during holidays are typically social, family-style ones. This is the kind of environment doctors recommend for their dementia patients. Such mealtime environments positively affect a dementia patient’s eating behavior.
In short, virtually everything a holiday trip represents is beneficial to dementia patients. But not for dementia patients alone; anyone battling stress, anxiety, and depression apparently stands so much to gain from going on vacation.
Tourism’s Value Goes beyond Having Fun
Seeing how Covid-19 impacted travel for the greater part of 2020 up to 2021 and how people’s mental health suffered throughout, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if tourism can be leveraged as a medical intervention. It appears the value of tourism transcends lifestyle and economic factors. Perhaps, if tourism can be promoted as a way of boosting public health, everyone would benefit from it. Not just healthy and wealthy tourists but also mentally ill people and the economy as a whole.
Dr. Wen noted that he hoped further collaborative research can be done to see how tourism can help enhance the lives of people experiencing other health conditions.
If you're battling any mental health challenge like stress and negative moods, going on vacation can help. That's really something to consider.
The cross-disciplinary study was conducted by Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers.