How Travel Affects the Brain
For most of us, there is a point in our lives when we get hit with the travel bug. Dreaming of visiting a gorgeous destination that seems worlds away, with new experiences and sights beyond our own imagination is sure to inspire anyone, especially with internet access to see the amazing photos shared around social media, and the information filled articles on travel blogs telling us about all of the amazing things we can do and see in the big wide world.
While a lot of us don’t act on this travel bug for various reasons such as financial constraints or time off work – if your reasoning for not jumping on the plane is that you’re not quite sure if it’s really worth the time and money, you might be surprised to learn that aside from the awesome memories you will make there are some extremely beneficial effects to the mind and body that are even scientifically backed.
So let’s discuss some of these effects on the brain, and even how you can apply them to your local area to help grow and develop as a person.
The way that creativity is influenced in the brain is actually quite interesting – it has a lot to do with being faced with new situations, circumstances and surroundings that your brain and body is required to adapt to. The more that you’re required to change in order to fit in to a new environment or overcome a new problem, then the more the creative chamber of the brain is able to develop. So if you’re solving clues, looking for new places, or even if you’re just lost – your brain starts to work to develop new connections, increasing cognitive flexibility and depth of thought. This then carries forward with all future situations, continually developing even deep into adulthood! If you’re looking to increase these processes but still not quite ready to take the step to international travelling, you could try a cryptic scavenger hunt in Sydney with adventure clues or exploring around your home state in places you haven’t been before. A cryptic trail is an extremely effective way to get your brain operating at this deeper level for increasing creativity, as you solve cryptic clues and encourage the depth of thinking and making new connections.
Increases Your Willingness to Try New Things
There will be some places that you travel where you will have no choice but to step outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s a country that doesn’t supply westernised food, or somewhere that hasn’t quite updated their modes of transport – if you want to eat, get somewhere or buy something, you might have to take part in some new methods such as bartering.
There’s also some experiences that you simply won’t want to miss out on, even if they’re something you wouldn’t normally try at home such as certain animal experiences, adrenaline experiences like bungee jumping or again, foods. Once you start to see how these new experiences positively impact your mood and trip, you’ll be more likely to try new things in your everyday life, too.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology also conducted a study, which resulted in findings that suggested students who studied overseas were more open to new experiences than those who studied on campus – this has also suggested that exposure to new cultures can increase your likelihood to want to do something new. You can incorporate this practice into your home life, by looking for some Sydney fun things to do – like wildlife encounters at the zoo.
Decrease Stress (and even depression!)
There’s a few scientifically proven reasons why travel can decrease stress, alongside symptoms of depression and anxiety. The obvious reasons we can give to start with include the simplicity of escaping everyday life. Without the usual work and daily life stresses, worry can start to melt away – especially when all you have to focus on is the beautiful world in front of you! However, when science comes into play, it actually gets a lot more interesting. Fresh air and exercise have long been proven to help fight stress and symptoms of mental illnesses that cause sadness, with studies showing the area of the brain that regulates these feelings changing when monitored during physical activity.
What we could call the ‘stress centre’ significantly slows down, with one study showing a huge decrease in the release of the stress hormone and impulses after just 90 minutes of walking. So, if 90 minutes of walking can have a benefit to such symptoms, imagine what a few days or even a week of planned itinerary trekking can do for you! It goes without saying that this will also have a great result for your physical health, too – which can also be linked to the improvement of mental health! If you’re looking for something fun to do in Sydney that can have this same benefit for you, check out some walking tracks or even organise a discovery trail with your friends in a new city. Exploring new places in your city and hanging out with your friends on walking adventures can all help with this.
Experiences shape your character, so the more you expose yourself to new things, places, people and cultures – the more you will develop as a person. This can also help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself as an individual. “What a lot of psychological research has shown now is that the ability to engage with people from different backgrounds than yourself, and the ability to get out of your own social comfort zone, is helping you to build a strong and acculturated sense of your own self,” says Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California.
Other character building qualities you could end up with from seeing some new countries include becoming more humble – thanks to realising the sheer magnitude of the world – and this is especially something highly reported from visiting places such as The Grand Canyon. It can also make you more trusting, more open minded and grow your general curiosity and willingness to learn and connect with others. These are all qualities we should all admire and strive for! Exploring your own city in a fun and cryptic way is also a great way to build character and open your mind – especially if you were to take part in one of the best things to do in Sydney, an Adventure Trail which can help you see your city from a new perspective.
Increase Your Intelligence
If we go back to the factors that help decrease stress and other issues, it is mostly the same reasons that impact your intelligence while you travel. Being outside and connecting with nature increases your mental clarity and focus, allowing you to think and act from a more informed position. This also opens you up to being able to take in and absorb new information in a much more efficient manner, meaning you’ll keep the learned information for longer and it’s more likely to transfer to your long term memory. After all, when you’re surrounded by new cultures, people, places and experiences there is a whole lot to learn! Simply being in nature is also linked to mental clarity in several studies, so the more you get out and see the sights on your travels, the more likely you are to increase your intelligence levels. Sitting outside in a natural environment for as little as 40 seconds has been shown to show improvement in focus and output in multiple studies.
Builds Your Faith in Humanity
Let’s be honest, this is something we all need from time to time. Travelling to different parts of the world and seeing how humans work together to adapt and overcome so many diverse situations, as well as how friendly and helpful people are universally is sure to help you gain some faith and trust in the world around you, and all of your fellow mankind.
It Makes You Happier
Yeah, honestly. Building new memories, seeing new places and experiencing new things actually has long term positive effects on your happiness! Doing this solo has the same impact, but if you’re travelling with people you love then you’ll have some great memories to reflect on as a group or a couple. On top of this, a recent study from the Journal of Psychological Science found that “experiential purchases (money spent on doing) tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having)”.
Compare this with a study that found workers who take all of their allocated holidays off have a 6.5% higher chance of getting promoted, you can say this happiness carries over into multiple aspects in your life and increases your productivity. Plus, who wouldn’t be happy after a promotion?! More money to travel. Not to mention you don’t even have to go too far to explore new things, with some fun things to do in Sydney including a Secret Sydney City Scavenger Hunt, a fantastic experience that will keep you buzzing for days!
So there’s seven huge benefits to your brain that can be achieved even in one trip. All of these benefits have the potential to influence your everyday life once you are back on home turf, helping you develop, grow and achieve more as a person. It’s easy to see how all exploring cities in a fun and challenging way – solving cryptic clues and finding new places with your friends can have these amazing effects on your brain and health. Fresh air and new experiences all adding to your creativity and your character, your intelligence and your life memories!
See what cryptic trails Adventure Clues has to offer and get underway with a unique, fun and brain boosting travel experience. 🙂
So what benefits have you seen from travel? Is there one travel experience that changed your life? Feel free to leave a comment below…