Exploration: The Underrated Self Care Method

Bob Wilkie

Bob Wilkie

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Post credit – Mandie

When we say the word exploration, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you picture a vast Canyon with an open sky? A lake so vast you can’t see the end? Or a field with nothing but flowers and sun. 

Whichever you imagine, how do those places make you feel? Does it bring happiness or comfort? Excitement or Danger? Exploring a new place can be all of those emotions and feelings, and it can be important to put yourself out into the world.

Why should I explore new places? You might be asking yourself this question, and you might say “What’s the point?” Oh my friend, there are many opportunities from the exploration of new places and removing ourselves from the chaos that is everyday life, the monotony of it all can be so oppressive that most of us don’t even realize it.

Stress Relief

Do you ever feel yourself overwhelmed or run down? Then I have great news. Traveling and the exploration of new places is an amazing stress reducer and happiness booster. You may feel your mind clouded by worries and we all know how much social media wears on our consciousness. 

There is also a science behind why exploration is a viable option for stress relief.

Exploration promotes happiness which leads to lower cortisol levels making us feel more calm and content. According to a 2013 study 80% of Americans who were surveyed noticed a drop of stress levels just after a day or two of traveling. When we explore safely, it can be one of the greatest self care acts out there.

Creativity Boost 

If you’re an esteemed artist or just a casual one, exploration can exponentially increase your creativity. Visiting an environment with some sort of local culture can bring new ideas, philosophies, and cognitive flexibility. 

We know it sucks to stare at a blank piece of paper and think “Why am I so blocked…” and that’s exactly why we should go to a new place or take a walk to reset our train of thought and inspire new ideas to come forth from visual stimulation.

Even Ernest Hemingway, for example, drew inspiration for much of his work from his time in Spain and France. Now I know not everyone can afford to travel across the world, but even going to a new remote hiking location or new town can promote health and creativity.

It Brings You Out of Your Comfort Zone

A lot of people in modern society have trouble with going out of their comfort zone, especially if it has to do with doing something new. Facing difficulties in an unfamiliar environment, among new people, forces you to learn and adapt to a life that’s out of your comfort zone. 

This makes you more flexible, patient and emotionally strong. Exploration of new places can be especially tricky for people who have social anxiety, or people who have agoraphobia or have agoraphobic tendencies. 

We’ve personally dealt with having that anxiety of leaving our house and going to a new place…your mind races and you might think “What if I die…What if I get lost…What if I witness something horrible? The number one thing we can tell you is, just do it.

We know how hard it can be, trust us, but every time we’ve left the house and went somewhere new, we’ve enjoyed it and learned many new things, not only about ourselves but about the world. We KNOW you can do it too, but here are some tips to help make you feel more secure when visiting a new place.

Helpful Tips

  • NEVER go alone in a new busy city, or dangerous area if you choose to go to places like that. Make sure you bring someone you trust with you to keep you safe, or know who to call if you’re ever in trouble. It also doesn’t hurt to learn basic self defense moves
  • If you have social anxiety, try going to a more remote, nature based location to ease your mind.
  • Keep a positive attitude and open mind. It’s so important for your self care and health in general to think on the bright side and be an open person. This helps expose yourself to new things and cultures. 

If something or someone seems a little weird or different from yourself, think of how they got that way or why they do what they do. Cultures can differ from place to place so you always want to be aware.

  • Be respectful. Like I said above, being in a new place can bring new things, so make sure when you do visit a new place, to try and be respectful of their cultures and traditions. 

In general, just follow the rules they have set there and you should be fine. Ex. In Japan people almost never wear shoes inside, and have personal indoor slippers for you to use. It’s not illegal to wear shoes inside, but people will consider it very rude and will most likely not let you enter the establishment without taking them off.

  • Let go and have fun! Exploring new places should be looked at with a sense of wonder and excitement. Make sure you do what you want to do while you’re in a new place and just have fun. It can hinder all the health benefits included by not letting yourself just be selfish and enjoy it.

Live Freely

Now that you’ve read this, pick a new destination twice a week for 2 weeks and go forth! Life is about freedom and adventure. Be okay with bracing the unknown and think about your health first. Get in touch with the world around us and be safe.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– Andre Gide

Mandie