An easy guide to mindful walking has all your need to know to start your mindful walking practice.
Why is mindful walking so beneficial?
Mindful walking leaves you feeling grounded, more focused and in control of your thoughts and feelings and for the able bodied it could easily be apart of your your daily routine.
A mindful walk is an excellent way to clear your mind and restore your sense of focus. It is also a great excuse to get out into nature.
Furthermore, in as little as 20 minutes a day by using all your senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch you can bring awareness to your body and surroundings.
Indeed several studies have shown that taking a break in nature can have a significant positive effect on the brain boosting your levels of the feel good neurotransmitter Serotonin.
Additionally, incorporating exercise not your daily routine with something as simple as walking, you also get a beautiful hit of Endorphins which is another other feel-good neurotransmitter. Also, just to top it off just 20 mins of gentle exercise also releases BDNF (Brain -derived Neurotropic factor) which is like miracle grow for your brain cells.
Who doesn’t want some of that?
Who could benefit from mindful walking?
If you are you feeling stuck, struggling with anxiety, racing thoughts or loosing focus and concentration and you have tried mediation but it’s not working for you right now, then mindful walking is an easy way of relaxing you mind. When the external environment is changes the brain can refocus to redirect difficult emotions from a different perspective.
When and where is best to mindful walk?
It is important to make your walking practice something you look forward to and not a chore. It can be a daily or weekly practice whatever feels right for you.
You can mindfully walk anywhere ensuring you are in a safe environment. It could be outside in nature, walking the dog, or while walking to work or school. It could even be an indoors while walking through the grocery store or through corridors in a building. You can do it mostly anywhere.
Mindful walking does can be as short or as long as you want it to be. It can be a practice for 3-5 minutes or as long as an hour depending on where you are and you schedule. You can make it work for you in your way.
How to mindful walk
Honestly there is no right or wrong way to take a mindful walk, the beauty is you can make it your own and you can’t really get it wrong. But if you enjoy a structured approach here is an easy step-by-step guide to mindful walking for you to follow and get started.
- Firstly, notice your breathing. Take deep breathes in and deep breaths out to consciously slow your breath down. You may notice you slow down your pace too.
- Notice how your body feels, there may be some niggles and heavy parts. Also notice which parts of your body feel comfortable and warm.
- Pay attention to how your legs, feet and arms feel with each step you take.
- If you are holding onto tension, give yourself permission to let go now. You may notice your shoulders drop and your face release, or even smile.
- Check in with your emotions, how are you feeling today?
- Recalibrate your emotions by choosing one word of how you want to feel after your walk. e.g. ‘energised’, ‘loved’, ‘safe’, ‘fearless’, ‘ready’….
- Say your word in your mind a few times or say it out loud if your feel comfortable.
- Now feel the contact of your feet as they simultaneously touch the ground, with the movement of your body as you move into your next step. Notice how your body moves and flows easily, recognising your body knows just what to do and just how to do it.
- Now using your sense of sight, look around and notice the colours and every detail. What do you see? Turn up the colours just like turning the volume dial on an audio set.
- What can you hear? The crunch of leaves? The sound of birds? People talking? Rustling wind? Distant music?
- Using your sense of smell, notice any aromas or scents in the air. What do you smell?
- Are you able to notice any tastes as you walk? Can you taste the air or rain?
- Now using your sense of touch, notice the solidity of the earth beneath your feet. How do your clothes feel? Can you feel the warmth of the sun on your back? Find what feels good.
- With openness and curiosity, notice any sensations, thoughts or feelings that arise. Witness how they naturally disperse and float away.
- Lastly, stay alert to your senses throughout your walk
Remember to breathe!
Repeat again soon!
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