Study Shows That Exploring Locally Can Be Good for Us

It seems as though you might not need to travel as far to feel happy, as exploring close to home could do us some good. Of course, we’re not saying that you should never travel the world ever again, but it’s important to note that traveling is not the be-all and end-all of your happiness. Maybe it’s time to start exploring locally!

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For years, scientists have wanted to study the impact that travel has on our moods, and that’s exactly what a study published in Nature Neuroscience wanted to analyze. What makes this study so interesting is that they didn’t want to study those who traveled to far-off countries for worldwide adventures. Instead, they wanted to study people's emotional reactions to new and diverse trips around their own homes.

Photo: Gabriella Clare Marino/Unsplash

The study tracked around 100 people from Miami and New York City over a few months. The aim was to analyze their positive emotions and their happiness. They saw significant changes in these feelings throughout the study, but this wasn’t due to life-changing experiences. Instead, these changes occurred when people explored new surroundings locally. More specifically, the researchers found that “What appeared to be most critical to positive mood was simply going to a diverse set of locations, not the distance traveled in one given day.” They found that people with more variety in their daily life were happier and more positive than those who stuck to the same old routine.