1. FIND YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE BY DEALING WITH UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS
There comes a time when everyone must deal with an unexpected situation when they’re on the road. Even if you plan your trip to the letter, things can take a surprise turn. Whatever happens, there is a way around the problem and knowing that you can deal with these situations is a big boost to self-confidence and therefore your happiness.
2. HAPPINESS IS INFECTIOUS
When locals are happy, smiling and friendly, it has an immediate knock-on effect. I found the people of Cambodia and Laos to be notably friendly and cheerful, despite the relative poorness of these countries and the former in particular having a very recent traumatic history. When faced with those big beaming smiles, it’s hard to be annoyed at the hassling you might experience at busy sites like Angkor Wat; putting that knee-jerk irritation to one side instantly lifts your mood and is a good habit to take home.
3. BEING AWAY MAKES YOU APPRECIATE FAMILY AND HOME
Being away from things we often take for granted — family, close friends, home — makes us appreciate them more. Calling home isn’t a chore, but something to look forward to: no one enjoys listening to your envy-inducing travel stories more than your parents, so it’s the perfect excuse to wax lyrical about whatever place with which you’ve just fallen in love.
4. YOU MAKE NEW FRIENDS
It’s much easier to make new friends on the road than it is at home, where people are less inclined to chat to strangers on a bus or strike up conversation in a bar (at least, that’s true of London). When people are away from home, there seem to be less boundaries to cross and making friends becomes much easier, whether it’s a local curious to know where you’ve come from or a fellow travelers keen to have someone with whom to enjoy a coffee or share a taxi. Social interactions make us happier and increasing our social circle means that we’re talking more and meeting different, interesting people, which hopefully means we’re learning more, too.
5. DETOX FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media can be used for both good and bad, but it’s healthy for everyone to have a break from the internet every once in a while. Wi-fi is so prevalent that it’s hard to turn off and you can quite often find yourself tuning out whatever amazing place you’re in with your face in your phone, checking Twitter, scrolling through your Facebook feed, checking your emails… stop. Turn it off. Better yet, find somewhere with no reception and no wi-fi so that you don’t have a choice. It’s liberating and allows you to better enjoy the ‘here and now’, which nicely ties into the following point.
6. GETTING SOME ‘YOU’ TIME
Traveling gives us breathing space that is often lost in our usual day-to-day existence. Having a moment to take advantage of peace and quiet and to simply ‘be’ allows us to let go of stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment — a key focus of meditation and a practice you can take home with you. If you’re traveling with a partner, it’s a chance to spend time with only each other for company, which is a thought that probably shouldn’t fill you with dread.
7. EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION
Whether it’s learning a new skill such as cooking Thai food or learning a new language, travel presents ways in which we can further our knowledge and education. Learning makes our brains more active, which psychologists have found increases our level of happiness – particularly when learning something we find enjoyable.
8. GET A VITAMIN D BOOST
Whilst it’s a bit of myth that you need to be on a sun-lounger for twelve hours to feel the full effects of vitamin D (20 minutes of exposure to sunlight is enough), there’s no doubt that in the same way that the cold and dark of winter makes us unhappy (feeling the effects of seasonal affective disorder or SAD), sunshine and warmth generally put us in a much better mood. A beach break is a great way to relax and enjoy the health benefits of a warm climate. Admittedly, this is more of a short-term boost, but a healthy glow makes everyone feels better and lasts for a few weeks after your trip is over.
9. YOU’RE MORE INTERESTING
You don’t need to be a ‘travel bore’ to have a few interesting stories to tell. Traveling throws up a lot of bizarre, funny and sometimes serious situations that relating back to people will make you — at least — feel interesting. Making someone laugh is an easy way to instantly bump up your self-esteem, so hold on to those embarrassing memories — no matter how much they might make you cringe.
10. NEW EXPERIENCES GIVE US MOMENTS TO REMEMBER
For most people, traveling is about the new experiences. I will always remember that moment of awe when I stood watching the sunlight leak out over the rainforest around the ancient temple of Borobudur in Java at sunrise, the sky turned a striking shade of violet: it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. Recalling memories of happiness can sustain a feeling of contentment long after the moment has passed, and new experiences are memories that can stick with you forever.
11. THE EFFECTS OF TRAVELING AREN’T JUST SHORT-TERM
Aside from making you happier in the short-term, traveling can make you a much more contented, happy and relaxed person in the long run, too. Of course, most travel enthusiasts are constantly planning their next trip, but when we’re at home or past a point of being able to jet off whenever we like, past travels leave us with the memories and personal skills – such as confidence, broad-mindedness, friends and a more worldly perspective — that make people happy. And that’s why travel makes you a happier person.
Article via CNN, I agree with EVERY SINGLE POINT!!!
The first starts with a cute quote from MadMen that sounds all too familiar:
“I’ll never get used to the fact that most of the time it looks like you’re doing nothing,” Sterling quips.
Actually, that’s probably what I look like writing this post from my iPad at work … and what you look like while you are reading this with a very serious face … hold that grin back lest someone catch you in the act …
Trapani’s article advocates “that the wandering mind is more likely to have a ‘Eureka!’ moment of clarity and creativity. Taking breaks and zoning out from everyday tasks gives our brains time to do a kind of long-term, big-picture thinking …”
Here’s the punchline: with reference to designer Stefan Sagmeister, who takes a whole year off every seven years, the article states that taking long drawn creative leave will help you “refresh, rejuvenate, and yes, even make yourself more productive”.
… but not everyone owns their own design firm and can afford or will be allowed to take an entire year off … heck some of us are heckled for taking a week off … that’s right, I’m talking to you – the hard working cubicle creature that wakes up before the sun rises and leaves after the sun sets and feeds on coffee chocolate and carbonated drinks…
In summary she lists out some ways to use idle time to boost your creativity. Here’s her list in short:
- Use your commute
- Put the body to work and give your brain a break
- Enjoy nature
… right so barring the second point none of that is possible in Kuwait. >.<' The commute to work (or anywhere for that matter) is a stroll through a war zone of flashing lights, loud horns, random moving objects, and stones hammering your wind shield ... and nature here is either the beach or dessert in scorching hot weather (might work but hmm ...)
Which brings me to the value we're adding here! Yes, it's true, we don't just shamelessly take ideas or republish emails sent from people wanting to advertise their event, product, services, or missing dogs ...
not always anyway (smirk)
Here are a few ideas, catered to the lifestyle in Kuwait, for taking time to think in that work-filled demanding day of yours:
The most long drawn and time consuming part of your work out is that 30 – 60 minute dash at the gym. It gets really awkward when your music starts to loop on your iPod and you think “I’ve already heard this, I need something faster!”. I find that thinking not only makes me forget the excruciating pain surging through me, but also helps me perform better, and I have the wildest (and sometimes disturbing) thoughts. Often, I find solutions whilst thinking about a problem.
The Sauna or Spa
I prefer the first over the latter but essentially you can get anywhere between 15 – 60 minutes of silence for reflection. I frequent the sauna whenever I go to the gym. The combination of heat, solitude, relaxation, and a need to focus on something other than the sizzling sound of water steaming over coal makes the sauna a great place to think. I imagine the spa is the same.
This is probably my favourite. I think I can leave it to the rage comic to explain … but those first 25 minutes of steaming hot water pouring down from your head to the floor of the tub somehow helps you space out and think about, quite literally, the meaning of life … yeeeees … and then there are those 2 minutes of actual bathing where you think “damn, I’m so awesome … and clean … ffff yeah!”
Early Bird Hours
It’s not in every country that the people are blessed enough to start work at 7:30 am … #sarcasm … and yes we all are guilty of the 20 minute battle against the alarm clock and the 10 minute complaint the proceeds waking up sounding cries of sorrow in the general direction of our beds “Pillow!! Y U NO LOVE ME!? I WANT TO SLEEP!!!” …
Wake up with the conviction that you will spend those precious minutes (whether laying in bed, changing up your nasfa, or curling your hair with a straightening iron) thinking about what is concerning you the most.
If you’re an early bird and get to work at 6 am (ya36eekum il 3afya oo inshallah we get a life) don’t start work immediately … take 30 minutes to think … not read blogs (ok read our blog first then stop) … just think.
Right before you sleep – (preferably after you brush your teeth, kiss your kids goodnight, and tell your significant other that they survived a day without a potential replacement for them showing up) – put that iPad down, lay the laptop down, and reflect on what you have done – and more importantly how you can do it better towards whatever your goals may be.
Why is it so important to think, reflect, and take time for yourself? Other than being productive and making money for the man … it’s important to contemplate your life so that you are content and happy. Epicurus prescribed a simple recipe for happiness: Friends, Freedom, and an Analysed Life.
Friends and freedom are topics for another post … but the latter bit (an analysed life) means “take time to think about your problems and they will go away”.
When do you take time to idly think about the universe at large?
Go and think about it then come back and let us know in the comments below!