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The Physical and Emotional
Benefits of Traveling

By Mikkie Mills

Getting away on a short vacation is an enjoyable experience, but research has found that it actually helps us in many ways. Even a brief vacation can provide a wealth of physical and emotional benefits that will help us be healthier and feel happier. So, if you were looking for an excuse to get out of town, here are just a few reasons to take that getaway…

Relieve Stress
Even a weekend getaway offers us enough change to reduce the stress in our lives. By leaving town for a few days and engaging in enjoyable activities, we can get away from our hectic lives in both a mental and physical sense. That gives our bodies a chance to recharge, which is why people often return from vacations feeling invigorated.

Boost Your Overall Mood
Just knowing that you're about to leave on a vacation can make you feel happier, which is why people often get excited about planning a vacation. In fact, a study conducted by students at the University of Surrey found that planning a vacation gives people a brighter outlook on their financial status, health, and their overall lives. People feel happier planning a vacation than they do when they anticipate buying a new possession, suggesting that we place more emotional value on experiences than on material possessions.

Give Your Immune System a Jump Start
Traveling has physical benefits as well, particularly in helping our immune systems fight off bacteria and viruses. When you visit a new place, where customs and traditions may be different from your own, the experience gives your immune system an opportunity to interact with different kinds of particles. This causes a build-up of antibodies, where are produced to fight off unfamiliar infections. By the time you return home, your immune system is stronger and better equipped to fight off illnesses.

Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Some studies indicate that you're actually helping your heart when you jump in your Honda Civic 2016 and head out of town. There are many factors that help you strengthen your heart by going on vacation. As previously mentioned, stress levels are lowered, while the different eating habits and increased levels of activity one generally engages in on a vacation also help heart health.

One study found that men who don't take vacations for several years experienced a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack. Another study found that women who take just one vacation every six years raise their risks of developing myocardial infarctions and coronary deaths. Women who took an annual vacation were generally more healthy and had much lower risks.

Prevent the Onset of Depression
Another major problem that affects millions of Americans is depression, leading to treatments that include ongoing therapy and the need to take medication for extended periods. A more natural way to keep depression from affecting you is to take a vacation. Marshfield Clinic out of Wisconsin conducted a study to determine the effects that vacations had on depression in women. They found that women who took at least two vacations per year were less likely to develop depression. Additionally, the study found that instances of chronic stress were much lower in women who took yearly vacations.

Improve the Functioning of Your Digestive System
While many people don't realize it, stress can change how the body digests its food. This is because the process is managed by the enteric nervous system. Higher stress levels in the brain cause inhibited digestion by stopping blood flow to this system, lowering the secretion of digestive acids, and inhibiting or slowing the contractions of stomach muscles.

When you take a vacation and relax, your stress levels are reduced. This helps your enteric nervous system get back on track and you'll experience a healthier digestive experience. Symptoms such as nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux will be reduced.

Taking the time for a vacation isn't just for fun. It also helps your mind and body restore itself, which is why it's important to take these breaks. While two are preferable, taking at least one vacation per year can help you restore a better state of health to your mind and body.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie.

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