New Study Suggests Exploring Your Own Town Can Be Good For Your Mental Health

Father and daughter hiking through forest on foggy morning

Any frequent traveler can tell you that exploring a new place can bring about an immense sense of joy. However, due to the pandemic coronavirus, our travel perimeters have gotten much, much smaller. But, as this study proves, it’s still important to get out and explore the world around, even if that means rediscovering what’s so special about your own hometown.

In a new study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers found that experiencing new things on a daily basis led to more positive emotions every day.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers tracked the mood and locations of 122 people in both New York City and Miami over the course of several months. The team analyzed their movements using GPS trackers and how those movements corresponded with moods by texting the participants each day and recording their moods. The researchers found those with a wider variety of daily experiences are more likely to feel happier.

“New and varied experiences are broadly beneficial for the brain and for humans in general,” Aaron Heller, a co-author of the study and psychologist at the University of Miami, told Inverse. “Even if you may not tend towards exploring, there are probably benefits to doing so, regardless of your past experiences.”