How mental health continues to remain a major issue:
Today, more and more Americans are suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. About 19% of adults living in the U.S. suffer from some sort of mental illness. Depression is affecting more than 26% of the adult population, making this the highest mental illness state of mind. It is projected that by year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability, after ischemic heart disease.
Realistically, a mental health problem can be a common experience for any individual at any given time. Many people may have a loved one or may know someone who has experienced some sort of mental health issue. It can happen to anyone.
If you find yourself going through a period of poor mental health, you can often find it more difficult to think, feel, react, and even to cope with life itself. When you find a combination of self-care, treatment, and support, you can hopefully overcome your mental health.
Listed below are some reasons why studying abroad can improve your mental health.
Studying Abroad Can Give You the Space & Time to Focus on Yourself
It may be difficult traveling to a new environment with unfamiliar surroundings. For example, If you’re studying abroad in Italy, the culture, language, food, policies, and laws can all be different compared to what you’re used to.
It is important to research the place you are traveling to prior to your travel date. If you learn more about the culture you’re going to, you will feel more relaxed and feel less stress.
If you are studying abroad with a group of students, try to talk to some of them. It is important to have communication with others when you’re traveling, so you don’t feel alone. You will be put int a situation where you will need to communicate with strangers. Strangers can be natives, peers, or your teachers.
It is important to not close yourself off, but rather find a way to become more open and say, “yes”, if you get invited to go adventure around.
Keeping a journal can often be a helpful tool when traveling abroad. Writing down your thoughts, daily activities, or experiences, can be a way to release negative or emotional thoughts. You can also contact family and friends back home to help you stay motivated and positive.
Studying abroad is a very exciting way to experience change and see the unfamiliar world that you are not used to. It is a chance to get to focus on yourself and fill your mind with new understandings and involvements. Seek help, if you are struggling with maintaining mental health. You are never alone. It is okay to live the life you want to, and not feel judgement.
Exploring Different Cultures Can Give You Confidence
While studying abroad there will be many situations where you’ll have to make decisions on your own. You will be forced to talk to an unfamiliar face and learn how to navigate around the town or city.
You will need to learn the transportation routes and street names to not get lost. Having shared experiences with others, will only increase your self-esteem and confidence. You will feel accomplished for facing challenges, you didn’t think you could do. Saying, “yes, I did that”, can boost your confidence that will stay for the years to come.
Exploring different cultures and trying new things can help pull you out of a common pattern or habitual routine that is keeping you down
By placing yourself in a different context, you can change your feelings about culture, religion, poverty, friendship, art, discrimination and just about any topic but, perhaps most importantly, it changes how we view ourselves.
Weather it’s eating new foods, exploring new neighborhoods, or trying new activities, getting outside of your comfort zone will help to strengthen your mental health. Getting outside of your daily routine will help you to expand your mind and to remain in a positive mental state. If is also important to surround yourself with individuals who are uplifting and can help keep you going.
Develop Much Needed Life Skills
Studying abroad will require students to uncover and develop skills that they may not have considered while living in the states. One obvious skill is student budgeting.
Budgeting is extremely important when your traveling. Learning to get around without the safety net of parents or loved ones can be intimidating at first, but it is an important step in establishing independence.
For many students, it may be the first time they’ve lived somewhere where meals aren’t provided. Learning how to budget meals, groceries, toiletries, and other necessities can be a great start on learning how to become independent. Create a budget plan before heading to your destination. There are many budget apps that can help and guide you on your study abroad trip.