4 Ways Travel Can Help Fight Depression

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder which affects about 7% of the U.S. adult population each year and 121 million people worldwide each day1. It causes severe symptoms, such as extreme sadness or loss of interest, that affect how we feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or working. Depression, even the most severe cases, can usually be treated with medicine, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Beyond medicine and psychotherapy though, there are a number of things that may help alleviate symptoms and for many, traveling has proven to be an effective antidepressant.

You Can Meet Others

Depression often creates anti-social tendencies and difficulty connecting with others. Traveling can combat social anxieties by naturally creating bonds with fellow travelers through shared experiences. It’s through these experiences that lasting friendships are created and a new meaning of life can be uncovered. The positive memories associated with traveling explorations become a constant reminder of enjoyment and create an increased outlook on life even after you return home.

Develop a New Outlook

Those suffering from depression often experience feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness, skewing their view of themselves and the world. Traveling creates perspective and forces us to see the world with a new set of eyes. Traveling to different continents and countries allows us to see how amazing our home is (or isn’t) and can be the impetus to make a change. It is revitalizing to be able to take a step back and recognize our life’s tragedies and celebrations.

Traveling Can Create Stillness

It is normal for someone with depression to have trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions. Depression can cause extreme restlessness and insomnia. Traveling can allow for the mind, body, and soul to be still and tuned into individual areas of concern. 

Become Inspired

People with depression may experience a lack of interest in pleasure or hobbies accompanied by a lack of motivation. Traveling inspires us to rekindle life’s lost pleasures and rediscover who we are.

Though people living with depression have daily challenges to overcome, treatment paired with traveling can have a lasting positive impact on a person’s mood and mindset. Alone, traveling may not necessarily be a cure-all for depression but instead can serve as a supplement to treatment; it is important that those suffering from depression recognize their own limitations and be kind to their bodies.

If you suffer from depression, or think you may, take a look at these additional resources:

1Faris, S., Author, B. (2012). A Look At Depression Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/statistics