This post was featured on TODAY Parenting Team‘s site.
Every once in awhile we all need a chance to recharge our batteries. The summer is the perfect time for a change of pace. Yes, Happy Science Mom has been a bit quiet this month so far as I traveled abroad to London for a fabulous, well-deserved family vacation.
Since September, I have been working very hard on building my blog and freelance writing business. I knew that early June would be a time to step away and gain a new perspective. We were fortunate enough to venture off to London with the kids since my husband had a business trip scheduled there.
Right before we left, I received an article from the Chopra Center entitled 6 Reasons Why Traveling Is Good For You. The messages in this article were especially helpful because my anxiety had been acting up. I was thrilled to see how travel can play a role in stress reduction.
Now granted, part of my worries had to do with flying over a gigantic ocean and then having to entertain two children on my own in a foreign country for much of the vacation. But I also knew that this experience would be good for me and my children. We needed to remove ourselves completely from the end of school year craziness and challenge ourselves to explore a new part of the world out of our comfort zone.
How Travel Reduces Stress And Makes Us Happier
The Chopra article explains how travel can relieve stress and boost mental health. Stress reduction is one of the most important benefits of travel. A 2012 survey by Expedia found that 89 percent of vacationers said they could let go of stress and relax after only a day or two into their trip.
Getting out of our daily routines and experiencing new surroundings resets both our mind and body. Studies show that by just planning a vacation, we can experience a boost in happiness. Vacations give us something to look forward to and new opportunities to explore.
The article also points out how we can increase our connection to others and to ourselves while traveling. There is a huge link between social connection and happiness, so when we interact with new people in our travels we develop a greater sense of connection to those we otherwise would not have met.
We also learn to appreciate similarities and differences with people out in the greater world beyond our home town or country. Research tells us that when we immerse ourselves in cultures different from our own, we strengthen our own personal identity–including our values and beliefs– and increase our confidence.
Why Travel Is Good For Your Kids
Wouldn’t you just love your children to feel more relaxed, be more confident, build meaningful relationships, and appreciate the world around them? Bringing your children with you on exciting vacations is so critical for their happiness and personal growth.
My children were thrilled to learn about another country and to listen to the British accent. They saw the crown jewels at the Tower of London, witnessed the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, enjoyed an afternoon tea lunch at Kensington Palace, and explored museums filled with historical artifacts. They also interacted with children from around the world at playgrounds and museums. My daughter even made a friend from California who we saw several times in our hotel during breakfast.
One part of our toolkit for raising happy, balanced children is to allow them to simply have fun, laugh, and explore the world around them. I hope that all of you have an amazing summer ahead filled with exciting, joyous experiences. Both you and your children deserve a break to truly relax and unwind.
Here is a free printable travel journal for your kids to enjoy on their journeys.
What travel plans do you have for your family this summer?