When planning a vacation, many people tend to consider cliche destinations such as Disneyland or Hawaii. However, a trip to the great outdoors is also a worthwhile option.
While nature trips might not offer pin-drop silence, the unique sounds of gushing waterfalls and chirping birds deliver a sense of life, momentum and liberation. They also improve mood, cognition and more.
The calming effects of nature can be felt by anyone who is able to escape the hectic distractions of daily life. Unlike the fast pace of modern cities, nature does not have set hours to operate, and even a short walk is enough to soothe frayed nerves.
Travelers with PTSD find that outdoor activities can help ease symptoms and offer a natural reintegration into civilian life. In fact, a study found that veterans with PTSD benefit from nature vacations even more than healthy vets.
2. Boosts Creativity
Immersion in nature can challenge your limits, physically and mentally. Whether overcoming nerves by climbing your first waterfall or beating yourself to a new personal best on a snowshoe trail, this type of healthy, active challenge can boost your mood and reduce stress.
Rolling hills and gushing waterfalls are rarely around the corner from modern cities filled with shops, art galleries and museums. However, researchers have discovered that spending time in nature is an ancient remedy to reduce stress and restore strength.
3. Relieves Stress
Research shows that escaping to nature for even just a walk can reduce your stress levels. And the longer your trip, the more benefits you reap — just like on a camping adventure.
Spending time in natural settings has also been linked to higher life satisfaction and mindfulness. Interestingly, veterans with PTSD seem to benefit the most from spending time in the wilderness.
4. Boosts Immune System
Nature travel gives you a natural boost to your immune system. Just like exercise, a hike, trekking, or kayaking trip in nature increases your blood flow and stimulates the production of infection-fighting cells.
The stress-free state of nature also boosts your immune system, preventing diseases such as diabetes, depression, ADHD, and cardiovascular disease. Plus, the sense of achievement you feel after hiking up a mountain is unparalleled.
5. Improves Sleep
Cliche travel trends like outdoor yoga and mountain-top meditation may seem inauthentic, but research shows that nature trips have real benefits. For example, veterans with PTSD benefit from spending time in nature and the wilderness.
Getting outdoors to hike, kayak, or otherwise experience the natural world reduces stress levels and improves sleep, which helps boost immunity. It also burns more calories, thanks to physical activity in nature.
6. Improves Mental Health
While some travel trends like outdoor yoga and mountain-top meditation may seem gimmicky, they actually provide psychological well-being through creativity, cognition, mood boosts and new ways of thinking. Even veterans with PTSD are helped by trips to natural settings, according to research.
Regular immersions in nature, a stack of studies confirm, can improve attention, lower stress levels, help with sleep problems, foster creativity and make us more patient and generous.
7. Boosts Self-Esteem
Immersing yourself in nature is an ancient remedy to reduce stress and restore strength – two of the main reasons most travelers travel. It also boosts your self-esteem.
There’s nothing quite like standing on the summit of a mountain or snorkeling over an untouched coral reef to inspire feelings of awe and accomplishment. The sense of achievement you get from these types of experiences helps improve your attitude towards others and life in general.
8. Boosts Physical Health
Research shows that immersing yourself in nature improves your mood, reduces stress and boosts your endocrine and parasympathetic nervous systems. It also helps you to feel more energetic.
In addition, awe-inducing natural landscapes have the power to help you forget your worries and focus on the present. It may even strengthen your immune system, as sun exposure enhances infection-fighting white blood cells.
9. Boosts Social Interaction
Whether you are hiking with a loved one or your adventure travel buddies, nature provides the perfect place to develop authentic relationships. Often, these experiences challenge your limits, either mentally or physically, as in climbing a mountain or beating your personal best on a trail.
Despite this study being conducted in England, the results suggest that nature travel may have a worldwide impact. We need more research on this to know for sure, but this is a good start.
10. Boosts Self-Confidence
The thrill of standing on top of a mountain, snorkeling at an untouched reef or hiking along scenic trails is exhilarating. It’s also a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment and boost self-confidence.
In addition, nature travel often involves a healthy level of exercise, whether on a hike or at the beach. This boosts self-esteem by demonstrating that you can overcome challenges and accomplish goals.