Why Embarking on a Pilgrimage can Improve your Well-being

pilgrimage can improve your well-being
Pilgrims on our recent journey to India with Andrew Harvey. All rights reserved.

People often crave a vacation because work and life are becoming hectic and they need to unplug and rest. However, people can come back from a vacation feeling tired and not as well rested as they expected making their return to regular life hard. They can feel depressed and have low motivation due to the holiday blues. This is because, when people travel and go on vacation they often don’t do it mindfully however, embarking on a pilgrimage can improve your well-being in many ways and allow you to return home with a new sense of yourself and the world around you.

When travelling intentionally and using the time to grow and evolve, you can improve your well-being as well as increase your self-esteem, confidence and sense of purpose. By making the most out of your travel experience, learning from the locals and experts, having time to integrate what you’ve learned and developing connections with others, you can return back from holiday with a new sense of purpose and motivation. Here are four reasons why embarking on a pilgrimage can improve your well-being.

1)Enhance Creativity

According to Adam Galinsky from Columbia Business School, the key to increasing creativity is to immerse yourself in new cultures and environments and to learn from the locals. By doing this, you are encouraging neuroplasticity (how the brain is wired) which is linked to creativity. When we travel with an open mind, it can help us to embrace new ways of living and so when we return to our regular life we have different ways of looking at problems and life. 

All of our pilgrimages are designed to encourage you to explore new places fully and to become immersed in their local culture, teachings and practices. Whether it’s with Miguel Angel Vergara in Mexico or Sanna Sanita in Morocco, you will be learning new ways to deal with life that will benefit your well-being long after you return home.

2)Improve Emotional Regulation

Speaking of open-mindedness, when you travel to new places it can get you out of your comfort zone and cause you to have to adapt to new situations. According to a 2013 paper by Zimmerman and Nayer, this can strengthen the ‘openness’ dimension of your personality. They go on to explain that this can cause you to be less reactive to problems within your everyday life and improves emotional regulation. This can help reduce feelings of stress and just improve your overall well-being. In our journey to Egypt with Sanna Sanita, we focus on slowing down and disengaging from the rush of everyday life to appreciate life’s beauty. Through doing this, and experiencing a new culture, you can experience new levels of presence, gratitude and improved well-being!

3)Develop New Connections 

pilgrimage can improve your well-being
A group of like-minded travellers on our journey to Egypt with Freddy Silva. All rights reserved.

A survey by the US Travel Association reported that travelling with a partner can make your relationship stronger and this can then have a knock-on effect on your own well-being and self-esteem. Not only this, but when going on a sacred journey, you have the opportunity to meet and interact with local people and deepen your connection to their way of life. This can lead to an increased connection to yourself and as an opportunity to learn and expand your worldview. On our journeys, you will be travelling in a group of like-minded individuals and this opens up the opportunity to connect with new people who are similar to you and also looking to grow and evolve through travel. Through pilgrimage, you can create lifetime friendships and connections that will improve your happiness, well-being and sense of belonging for years to come.

4)Learn New Things

While some people want to go on holiday and simply switch off, there are different types of rest, and one form of rest can be to engage in activities that fill you with energy and allow you to deepen your connection to yourself and your interests. When embarking on a pilgrimage, you can learn more about the things that interest you and use these lessons to change your life moving forward. In Greece with Phil Cousineau, you can learn how to embark on your own Odyssey back home to yourself and in Ladakh, with Andrew Harvey, you can learn how to live your life in service to others (tip: this has a hugely positive impact on your well-being and happiness).  On our journeys, you get the added benefit of travelling with experts in their field who can teach you valuable lessons about the place you’re visiting as well as lessons that will help you grow and expand.

We hope these four reasons for how a pilgrimage can improve your well-being have inspired you to embark on some spiritual, intentional and growth-inducing travel. These are only a few reasons why it can improve your happiness, mental health and your life in general. Connection with others is one of the biggest predictors of happiness and stress relief, as is spending time engaging in activities that interest you. When we broaden our worldview we become more accepting of others and can learn from others more easily. All of which improve your quality of life. We would love to see you on one of our upcoming journeys to help change the world of travel to be more meaningful and beneficial to us, the world, and the communities we visit.