How Meditation Can Improve Your Travels

When it comes to mindfulness and meditation, you may think it takes years of training — or a spiritual journey — to derive any benefits. But the essence of the practice is actually quite simple, and its techniques can bring a little relief to many stressful situations, including travel.

“We’re talking about a sort of a slightly more sophisticated version of the advice that your mom gave you, when you were a kid, of ‘take a deep breath,’ ” said Dan Harris, the co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline”and the weekend edition of “Good Morning America” who has authored two books about mindfulness and meditation.

“You don’t have to believe in anything. It’s a really simple, secular exercise for your brain,” continued Mr. Harris, whose “10% Happier”smartphone app and podcast feature guided meditations.

According to the most recent National Health Interview Survey, more American adults are meditating than ever, with more than 14 percent saying they have practiced in the past year, up from 4.1 percent in 2012.

Given that one known effect of practicing mindfulness is the reduction of stress and anxiety, travelers could stand to benefit.

“There is strong research that shows that meditation can improve mental health,” said Dr. Megan Jones Bell, the chief science officer for the meditation app Headspace. “Meditation can help us learn to be more present, see ourselves and others from a new perspective, and approach life in a more engaged and peaceful way. This can all be really helpful during any part of our lives and especially during travel.”