Who doesn’t love a good road trip? New sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences await down the daring road of adventure. The driving helps us physically leave our worries behind, while new cities bring a healthy change in perspective to our otherwise limited point of view. Simply put: adventure is good for you.
It might sound too good to be true, but it’s actually backed by science. For example, did you know that when you’re physically on vacation, your brain is engaging in its own kind of vacation as well? Experiencing exciting new things allows the brain to release dopamine, which temporarily gives you the refreshing feeling of elation. This natural chemical is also produced when you are taking new risks or even using a new product. It’s a feel-good, natural occurrence that inspires you, motivates you, and helps to free your mind. If a road trips helps fulfill all of that simultaneously, then why not take advantage of it? Here are five essential tips to help you have your most mentally freeing road trip yet:
- Try New Things: Rather than sticking to all of your go-to camping sites or favorite little towns, go somewhere new. You can either jump in the car and drive until you find a city you’ve never visited, or open a map and pin stopping points for all of the towns listed between home and the nearest big city. If you’d rather have a planned destination, then try other new things like unique foods, drinks, or local goods from the towns you visit. If you are looking to truly immerse yourself in each town you visit, opt for a bed and breakfast as opposed to the standard hotel room. You’ll find that your stay offers comfort, hospitality, and personalized service with a home away from home feel, and your hosts will be more than willing to share their favorite local hotspots with you. If your road trip takes you through Colorado, be sure to stop at the Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast Inn, a quaint bed and breakfast nestled among the beauty of Colorado Springs.
- Laugh A Lot: Laughing is well-known for its expression of joy. Yet, laughter is actually extremely important for our physical body for more reasons than self-expression. Studies have shown that laughter could facilitate healthy blood flow to prevent a heart attack and even supply antibodies that build up the immune system. In other words, by stressing less and laughing more we are improving our health.
- Give Yourself Some Alone Time: Traveling with others can be a ton of fun. They can add new meaning to your activities and help you check off the items on your bucket list. However, your mind needs some quiet time too. Try to set aside at least an hour per day for self reflection. If you have recently undergone a stressful life issue like a breakup, a career change, or even an addiction issue, this time can be extremely beneficial. In the case of addiction recovery specifically, daily quiet time might help in the healing process. By removing yourself from your normal environment and giving your mind a chance to focus on something new, you separate yourself from daily habits or old cravings. Meanwhile, the quiet time might offer you a chance to find the root cause of the former addiction so you can prevent it from happening again.
- Put Your Phone Down: Give yourself a strict rule to put your phone away often. Nowadays our smartphones have become an extension of our physical bodies, constantly poised in the palm of your hand to snap a photo at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, we are just a tap away from our email, social media apps, and texts with people who aren’t accompanying you on the trip. Instead, give your mind a chance to take in the newness of your environment and experiences.
- Listen to Music: Few things are as exhilarating as traveling down a backroad with the wind in your hair while your favorite song provides a soundtrack that moment in your life. Doesn’t it feel like music does something deep on the inside? Well that’s because it does. Music has been proven to help reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. So while you enjoy the sweet sounds coming from the car speakers, your body be relieved of the strain of daily life.
So the next time you need to take a mental break, fill up the car and head out on the open road. Take the time to improve your physical and mental health, while allowing the stress to melt away. It’s amazing just how mentally freeing one road trip can be.