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Visual Sensory Walk for Adults - Learn to See Nature and Life

Updated on July 2, 2011

Sensory walk - a lot to see!

Reflections, rain drops, gold fish in this pond, weeds and even a swimming turtle! There are a lot of things to see in nature
Reflections, rain drops, gold fish in this pond, weeds and even a swimming turtle! There are a lot of things to see in nature

What is a sensory walk?

A sensory walk is a relaxing walk outdoors, while focusing on the experience one or more senses. While most people know how to see, hear or smell, the fast pace of life prevents people from actively experiencing their sensory input!

It is rather difficult to put the worries of life behind you, and a peaceful 30 minute sensory walk helps with these!

Sensory walk speed

In today's fast paced world, most people walk with a purpose. This means walking at high speed, rapid pace with a goal and direction in mind. This is great for getting a task done, but not for a sensory walk!

In order to enjoy your sense of sight:

  • Slow down the pace of your walk and speed to 1-2miles per hour. Take short, slow, deliberate steps as you look around
  • Put the sense of purpose out of your walk - you can enjoy the sense of sight anywhere!
  • Do not focus on the sense of direction - just walk slowly and observe

Sensory walk examples

Focus on individual trees and then see past them.Real depth of view and perspective can be easily experienced in the forest.
Focus on individual trees and then see past them.Real depth of view and perspective can be easily experienced in the forest.
There are so many shades of green in nature! Let your eyes appreciate them.
There are so many shades of green in nature! Let your eyes appreciate them.
Focus on the movement and look at the ground. I did not see this frog that was 1 feet away from me for over a minute!
Focus on the movement and look at the ground. I did not see this frog that was 1 feet away from me for over a minute!
Life is not all green. Here, spectacular shades of red can be seen on the ground!
Life is not all green. Here, spectacular shades of red can be seen on the ground!

The visual experience

Visual sensory walk focuses on the sense of sight. If you try this, you would be surprised as to how hard it really is to let go of all thoughts and cares and simply enjoy the surrounding imagery of nature!

To start a sensory walk, start looking at one object. For example a tree:

  • Look at any tree, see the entire tree from the trunk to its branches
  • Do you see how the tree stands out from the rest of the trees around it?
  • Where does a tree end?
  • Push your vision past the tree and appreciate the sense of depth that is often present in a forest due to multiple shadows and light effects
  • Look at the colors. The forest is green, but light, shadows and different trees create so many variations of the color green!

Try to describe or find words for what you are looking at. Find words for sights and colors. This would be hard!
Now that you warmed up, look at the movement:

  • See how tree branches and leaves gently move in a breeze
  • See how trees sway after one another in a strong wind.
  • Capture movement at the edge of your perception and focus on that: see butterflies, bees and birds fly around.

Next, focus on the things that your mind usually filters out:

  • Look at the clouds and the sky. Notice the shape of the clouds and the hue of the sky. Are the clouds moving?
  • Look at the ground and see the hundreds of little details - it is a world of its own!
  • Next, shift your attention to the eye level. Find 3 interesting objects to look at and name them.

Man made objects

A red carton, clearly out of place here
A red carton, clearly out of place here
A bright blue baloon next to metal nails.
A bright blue baloon next to metal nails.

Artifacts and perception of fine details

Play a detective if you wish. Notice things out of place. Human made things or signs of human activity. For example:

  • A bit of aluminum foil on a forest trail
  • A cigarette butt
  • A trail lined with cut pieces of wood
  • Precise straight cuts on wood or bushes.
  • If you are near a creek, look for man made debris in the creek.

Living creatures

What do you see in this image?
What do you see in this image?
A bunny stares back. How does it perceive you? Can you imagine that?
A bunny stares back. How does it perceive you? Can you imagine that?

Sensory walk tips and tricks

A sensory walk is best performed:

  • Outdoors - this allows you to walk slowly
  • In nature - there are a lot of things that you've never seen or paid attention to!
  • A secluded space - people would fill your mind with other concerns
  • A safe place - you don't want to think of wild animals or dogs
  • A quiet place - put your phone on mute

Additionally, leave your wallet or valuables in your car. There's no reason to bring them with you, and they will distract your attention!

Avoid taking pictures until your 3rd or 4th walk. Taking pictures is a distraction in this case!

When you stare at a squirrel, the squirrel stares back!

The cute little squirrel in the middle of this image is scared, but fascinated! Its sides rise quickly as it breathes really fast, ready to dash at a nearest tree
The cute little squirrel in the middle of this image is scared, but fascinated! Its sides rise quickly as it breathes really fast, ready to dash at a nearest tree

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    • joytruthlove profile image

      joytruthlove 5 years ago

      thanks! includes some nice tips