A Walk to Remember

Have you ever thought throughout the day that you just needed to get outside? While sitting in work, or class, or in your car, has the beautiful breeze outside seemed to call your name? It has for me, at least once a day. And on days when I give into that call, I find myself much less stressed than before I had stepped outside. There’s something to be said about a quick warm breeze, the shift of sunlight through the clouds, the wave of plants, and the smell of soft green grass.

It illuminates your surroundings, helping you to center on what matters most, the big beautiful giant world around you. Being outside is known to strongly help as a major stress-reliever, and doing activity outside, as well, increases that stress-relief tenfold.

We all know exercising (light, moderate, etc.) is good for you, but here are the great benefits according to the CDC:

  • Weight control
  • Risk reduction for cardiovascular disease
  • Risk reduction of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Risk reduction if some cancers
  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Improves mental health and mood
  • Improves do daily activities and prevent falls
  • Increases your chances of living longer

At one point, during a couple of very busy and stressful months, I felt like I just needed to go for a walk each day, to clear my head and re-set the scale. I started looking up information about walking meditation because I felt like when I walked, I was allowing my brain to relax, unwind, and allow me to stay in the present. It was very therapeutic, and I figured this must be something. That’s when I started reading about finding mindfulness during walking meditation.

Meditation

Here’s what it is and how you do it, according to mindful.org:

Walking meditation can be a formal practice, like watching the breath. Or it can be informal, bringing awareness to this everyday activity, whenever you need to travel from point A to point B. 

  • As you begin, walk at a natural pace. Place your hands wherever comfortable: on your belly, behind your back, or at your sides.
    • If you find it useful, you can count steps up to 10, and then start back at one again. If you’re in a small space, as you reach ten, pause, and with intention, choose a moment to turn around.
    • With each step, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your foot. Notice movement in your legs and the rest of your body. Notice any shifting of your body from side to side.
    • Whatever else captures your attention, come back to the sensation of walking. Your mind will wander, so without frustration, guide it back again as many times as you need.
    • Particularly outdoors, maintain a larger sense of the environment around you, taking it all in, staying safe and aware.
    • If you find it useful, you can count steps up to 10, and then start back at one again. If you’re in a small space, as you reach ten, pause, and with intention, choose a moment to turn around.

  • Now for a few minutes, expand your attention to sounds. Whether you’re indoors, in the woods, or in a city, pay attention to sounds without labeling or naming, or getting caught up in whether you find them pleasant or unpleasant. Notice sounds as nothing more or less than sound.

  • Shift your awareness to your sense of smell. Again, simply notice. Don’t push or force yourself to feel anything at all, just bring attention to the sense of smell, whatever you discover.

  • Now, move to vision: colors and objects and whatever else you see. Patiently coming back each time something grabs your attention, or even if something needs addressing, like avoiding an obstacle. Staying natural, not overly rigid, not daydreaming and drifting, but with sustained awareness.

  • Keep this open awareness of everything around you, wherever you are. Nothing to do, nothing to fix, nothing to change. Fully aware, and walking.

  • In the last moments, come back to awareness of the physical sensations of walking, wherever else your mind found itself throughout the practice. Notice your feet again touching the ground. Notice again the movements in your body with each step.

When you’re ready to end your walking meditation, stand still for a moment again. Pausing, choose a moment to end the practice. As you finish, consider how you might bring this kind of awareness into the rest of your day.

........

I would suggest 10 min a day for at least one week. I hope this form of light exercise helps you since it has helped me greatly. It’s what I now do when I need some time to recalibrate and destress. What’s your go-to stress-relieving exercise activity? 

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The statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from your healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

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