BRB, Planning an Adventurous Vacation to Combat Stress (Because Yep, It Helps With That)

Photo: Stocksy/Photographer's Name
For the most part, I subscribe to JOMO and I'm perfectly happy under a blanket with a good book in hand. Occasionally, though, serious wanderlust kicks in and I find myself searching for something adventurous to do that brings on a rush of adrenaline. (And nope, not just the kind that comes from watching yet another scary movie.)

I don't think I possess the "thrill-seeker's gene," but Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD, says it's fairly common to hunt for a thrill. "Research supports that some people need an adrenaline rush. And it's not always by doing something physical, like skydiving," she says. "It can also be artistic or intellectual, like being a public speaker or politician. It's as necessary for them as calm is for those who are more comfortable in the 'backstage' or working in their own private cubicle," she says.

When you do something exciting, your heart races. "Adrenaline dilates the eyes, sends more blood to the muscles, increases lung capacity, and in general, it makes you temporarily faster, stronger, and more alert. When you’re in danger, adrenaline gives you a survival edge," says Chicago-based clinical psychologist Aimee Daramus, PsyD. Seeking a rush can be seriously addictive, too: "It’s a stimulant, in the same class of drugs as nicotine and cocaine," she says "You can definitely learn to like adrenaline too much."

There's a solid middle ground when it comes to getting your adrenaline fix. According to Dr. Daramus, an intentional adrenaline rush can help to improve your performance in stressful situations beyond your control. And maybe that's why people are (literally) jumping at the chance to experience the occasional rush. The bookings for adrenaline-boosting experiences on TripAdvisor have increased 20 percent year-over-year. Whether you're down to dive with sharks or rappel into canyons, a little burst of adrenaline could do you some good.

5 highly-rated ways to get healthy rush of adrenaline

1. Waterfall jumping in Costa Rica

After all that time spent chasing waterfalls, why not try jumping? In the rainforests of Costa Rica, you'll leap off high canyon walls into clear pools below.

2. Shark cage diving in Hawaii

Get up close and personal with gray reef sharks, hammerheads, and sandbar sharks up close. You won't regret cage diving in Hawaii.

3. Skydiving in New Zealand

Anyone who enjoys living life on the edge will love this opportunity to skydive from 15,000 feet in New Zealand. If you're not too freaked out to notice during the 60-second freefall, you'll get epic views of some volcanoes and Lake Taupo.

4. Bungee-jumping in Australia

Take a leap of faith off this super-popular 164-foot ledge in Australia. You're probably going to scream, but you'll definitely get a good video out of it.

5. Canyoneering in Utah

Canyoneering—aka exploring canyons by rappelling down them and shimmying through tight cracks—is a must-try for any adventurous outdoorswoman, and it'll certainly get your heart pumping.

These are 13 of the most extreme adventures every active traveler needs to know about. Or, find out how to keep your sense of adventure while spending a lot of time at your desk.

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