The Benefits of Going on Mindful Walks
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, being mindful of what you are thinking and the world around you. It is a practice that has existed since ancient times but is again being brought to life. Mindfulness has the potential to aid people with helping to reduce stress which can help to improve overall wellbeing. Having high levels of stress constantly has a damaging affect on both an individual's physical and mental health.
By practicing mindfulness it becomes possible to be ever more aware of what you are thinking about. This can then help you to stay more switched on and stay more energetic for longer.
Mindfulness Introduction Question
Have you heard about Mindfulness before reading this article?
How can I Incorporate Mindfulness with Walking
When most people walk, you will be surprised to know the majority of people are busy in thought or staring constantly at their smartphones. This can mean that an individual is not necessarily focused on what they are actually thinking about or what is going on in the world around them.
The way to go about being more mindful when walking is starting to focus on silencing the mind. Pay attention to what your surroundings are like. Here are somethings you could focus on when attempting to be more mindful:
- What can you see? Pay close attention to traffic. Plan ahead when crossing a road or highway. This will not only increase safety but will keep you grounded.
- If walking in a quiet area focus on the silence and try to allow your attention to drift gradually from thought to thought.
- What is the temperature like? What is the weather like? Again this sounds like obvious things but by paying your attention you will feel more relaxed and more present.
- What can you smell? Are there any distinct smells or scents that you can smell?
- Noises - What direction is the sound coming from? Again when crossing things like roads this can help with your perception of oncoming vehicles.
- What is the gradient like? Are you climbing up a hill or are you going down a gentle slope?
By being aware and not focusing too deeply on some of the things above it becomes noticeable that your thinking may slow down and your brain may silence. All that noise of countless thoughts begins to silence. This is where the meditation element can be introduced in things like walking as part of your daily routine.
Again, it is important to emphasis, not every walk has to be that mindful as described above but intentionally focusing on these things may be beneficial.
From my personal experience of practicing mindful walking it has definitely benefited me and has allowed me to control and reduce stress.
If you feel like this is something that may be beneficial to you, don't hesitate to try it. Also sharing with friends and loved ones can potentially be useful.
Potential Health Benefits of Walking and Mindfulness in General
- Reduces stress - endorphins are released that make you feel good and more relaxed.
- Increased awareness and concentration
- May aid with better sleep as walking and exercise in general - yes, something even as simple as walking can help regulate neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin which helps to regulate mood. Hormones such as melatonin are also more regulated which may help with getting a better night's sleep.
Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of your Mindful Walks
- Try putting your smartphone away. This will make sure you are not distracted by reading text messages or browsing the Internet.
- Walk in an area that you know well or try exploring a new area. Experiment, see what works well with you.
- Try and at least spend 20 minutes on your walk. It is important to give adequate time to let yourself experience the mindfulness benefits.
- Try and have a friend or relative accompany you. This way you can share the benefits and keep each other motivated.
Mindfulness Poll Question
Is Mindfulness Walking something that you would be willing to try?
Overall, whether you feel as if mindfulness is something that you want to incorporate in your life or not, we can all agree, health is a vital part of our being. The common saying that I always like to quote is "Health is Wealth". Through having good health one is able to lead a more fulfilling life.
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