There’s no way of denying the fact that each one of us goes through the low phases of life, and often struggle hard to overcome them. While for some, it’s a moderate situation with on & off phases of sadness, guilt, lack of confidence etc., for others, it’s more grave, leading to chronic depression where one can’t concentrate in anything, keeps being lost or constantly ponders of past mistakes, trying to find out answers to questions which have no sense!
‘Depression’ is a sort of mental illness that was regarded as a taboo till the last couple of decades when people would keep themselves in a box, and never talk about things that bother them to a great extent. But with the change in time, the trend has changed and now, the remedy for ‘depression’ is to talk rather than to sulk.
By talking, I don’t mean verbal conversation all the time, but it can be any mode of expression. One can seek help from colors and a paintbrush, to pour out the grief, or can write a poem and give it a tune to express the sorrow through a song. There are different ways to let your feelings flow, and traveling on the unknown trails, to explore the bigger world as well as to delve deep inside one’s own mind and body, is just another remedy! And being a sufferer myself, I know how much traveling can help during such phases.
J King of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis talked about the stress-relieving abilities of travel and mentioned, “With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief being the main outcome.”
Stepping out of the known circumference and exploring a newer side to oneself is the best solution to shed off the pessimism. Here’s why traveling helps me to fight against depression and gives me positive vibes to face a new day!
Planning a trip helps me to keep the negative thoughts away
Thoughts are like clouds – they keep floating on the mind, coming and going. While negative thoughts can make us dull and blurry, positive thoughts help us to be happy and bright. Let me tell you that the thought of stepping out of the regular to explore the unknown is not an escape route for sure. Rather, I prefer to see it as a constructive thought – something, that leads me to Google and research more about a place that’s on my mind.
Planning a trip is more like a path that keeps me away from thinking about the sad incidents of the past and things that churns the mind and aches the heart. Finding out about the places to visit, getting cheap flight tickets, booking the accommodation etc., mostly keeps me engaged. Well, as they say, distraction is a popular coping mechanism because it’s effective for all.
A study by Cornell University also found that we get more happiness from anticipating a travel experience in comparison to anticipating buying a new possession.
The thoughts of stepping out of the comfort zone help in stretching my limits
Depression often makes us think that we’re not capable of something. At times, it generates a feeling of discomfort and fear of facing the unknown. The same also happened to me on several occasions. There were times when I would just sit blankly, thinking of what will happen if I forget my language or if I can never write my stories again. That’s when I understood that there aren’t any good stories in my life to be narrated and my quest for experiencing new things and pouring them down should be on.
While the thought of stepping out of the home may seem a little scary, there are hopes to meet new people, discover beautiful places and explore myself more deeply. To be honest, the thoughts of moving out of the comfort zone helps me in stretching my limits.
It’s easier to disconnect from social media
Being an Instagram addict, I’m mostly scrolling up and down my feed, or opening Facebook periodically throughout the day, peeping into the lives of others and feeling more miserable about myself. In spite of the good things that are there in my daily life, I tend to focus more on what’s missing or look back to mourn over what I’ve lost. There’s a false hope to find respite through my all-too-convenient smartphone!
But when I’m traveling, the scenario is completely different. I stay away from spending on international roaming and the minute I land in a different country, my phone is nothing more than a glorified watch, serving as a camera at times. I can happily disconnect from the virtual world, with the pleasure of being in the present and able to fully embrace my experiences without the constant distraction of a glowing screen.
Exploring the world makes me realize how small my problems are
It’s common for all of us, I believe! We always tend to think that our’s is the worst problem ever, until we actually move around places and meet other souls, only to realize that in this huge world, our problems are as tiny as we are!
At a point in time when I was almost losing hope on myself and everything surrounding me, thinking of how terrible life is, I traveled to Nepal to volunteer at an orphanage, where I met little kids who aren’t privileged enough but were happy despite of everything. While volunteering in Nepal, I met other travelers from Western countries, who had traveled all the way, only to share some time, love, care and happiness with those adorable cuties. I felt blessed that I could connect with such souls, and returned back home with memories that I can cherish forever.
Traveling helps me to collect good memories and paint my dull life with bright colors
Over time, I’ve understood a thing very clear about myself – that stagnation makes me feel claustrophobic. Being at one place for long creates a sense of itching in me – an itch to roam around aimlessly. There was a time when I felt that I wasn’t able to concentrate on my work and after a lot of struggle, I quit my job. I was trying to find solace in nothingness, and later I traveled to Bhutan for a month only to realize that things aren’t that bad after all. That month in Bhutan changed my way to look at life and helped me to have faith in others, to slow down a bit at times, seek help when needed and do something for others with a smile on face.
Traveling has always helped me to connect with people from different parts of the world, know them and absorb their goodness, hear their stories to merge with mine – and it has always been a soothing experience on the roads.
To quote something that a friend always says, “Let happiness be your destination”, and for that, ‘the journey must go on’.