The Benefits Of Travel On PTSD and C-PTSD
Science and experience are showing us daily that travel is no longer just for recreation! The evidence suggests that when it comes to recovering from trauma, mental illness or addiction, traveling can have undeniable benefits on PTSD and C-PTSD; on our mental health in whole. Just as different herbal medicines can help relieve and heal our physical pain, travel helps with our mental pain.
Travel, stepping outside of your comfort zone, even if only for a day trip, can change everything. People who suffer from PTSD and C-PTSD report having fewer to no panic attacks, triggers, flashbacks or nightmares when traveling. They also have more tools in their conscious toolbox to help cope with their traumas upon return.
Have you heard of a Japanese public health practice called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku? They practice it daily and it has proven to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system AND improve overall feelings of well-being. All this from standing among nature regularly… imagine the power of having a new experience whilst traveling?
The Benefits of Travel On PTSD and C-PTSD
- Travel Is a Physical Stress Reliever. Our nervous system releases the stress hormone cortisol (a steroid) when we are stressed, wreaking all kinds of havoc on our bodies. Things like work, household responsibilities, bills and family conflict all cause stress making our bodies release more cortisol, hurting our physical and mental selves. Travel reduces stress by giving people a break from these stressors. Even if it is just a short daytrip or weekend getaway, it can be enough to give us time to refresh and return with a new energy.
- Travel Changes Perspective. Many of us fall into a rut easily, running to keep up with our over-scheduled days. Traveling takes us out of our daily routines and offers a fresh perspective on our lives. Taking time to step out and broaden your horizon, suddenly you will see your challenges from new angles and will help you face your daily obstacles with a new view.
- Travel Gives You Something To Look Forward To! We love the emotional boost that travel gives us, especially when on the trip. But some studies are showing that the benefit begins as soon as the trip is booked and you are looking forward to it. The anticipation leading up to a vacation can offer a sustainable boost in serotonin being released – the chemicals associated with happiness. The same applies to after the trip and remembering all of the awesome experiences you had – prompting more serotonin to be released in our bodies helping PTSD and C-PTSD patients feel happier.
- Travel Provides an Excellent Distraction. Taking a break from the negative aspects of life to focus on the positive can be really helpful to people suffering with PTSD and C-PTSD. Travel provides a great opportunity, a really exciting distraction and opens up the mind to possibilities. Travel can take the edge off of the pressures we feel when home.
- Travel Can Challenge and Change Your Mind. Travel helps you take a few steps away from the familiar and catapults you into the unknown. Trying new foods, listening to new music, finding your way around a new city or town all challenge you to grow and are a sign of emotional maturity, of deep strength. This reminder is healthy for someone with PTSD and C-PTSD and can boost their ability to cope with grief and trauma in a healthy way.
Though there can be some risks to traveling with PTSD and C-PTSD, if you are mindful of yourself, than the benefits of travel on PTSD and C-PTSD are far greater than the risks. Start with a daytrip to someplace you have always wanted to visit and work your way to taking a self-love retreat. Now you can see why travel is incredibly healing, don’t you agree?
Malibu Mama Loves Xx