One of the best mindfulness exercises that encourages us to stay present and calms racing thoughts is the simple act of taking a walk. Especially outside.
Not only does walking help with cardiovascular health and muscle tone, it also improves sleep and boosts our mood thanks to increased endorphins.
It doesn’t take power walking or jogging to achieve this effect (although those things are good for you too.) All you need to do is walk casually and notice your surroundings.
Here are 3 big tips to help make your walk more about mindful moments instead of more time to worry:
1 – Notice your surroundings. Walking outside can be an awe-inspiring experience with the sky, trees, flowers, and grasses to focus on. Their beauty is something to behold. But if you have to walk inside you can pay attention to the wonder of people watching at the mall, or athletes at the gym, or kids playing at the park. If you look for beauty, you will find it.
2 – Listen to music. I love listening to my favorite music while I walk. Not only does it help me keep my speed up, but it excites me as I mindfully choose music I am in the mood for or that brings me nostalgia. I can choose songs from my teen years, or any other time that brings about carefree feelings of mindfulness. Mindfully breathing with the music as you walk is a great way to stay focused as well.
3 – Count your steps. While this may sound mundane to some, this is a great way to calm a racing brain when stress is getting the best of you. Your thoughts will likely wander, but if you just keep starting over with one step and counting, you may find yourself in a blissful trance of flow that makes the time fly by. This can give your brain the rest it needs to recharge and face stress head on once your walk is done. Challenge yourself to hit a certain number while on your walk and keep track of your overall tally with a pedometer.
We’ve also complied a list of some of the items* you may need to get excited about a mindful walking habit and fully reap all of its benefits!
3 – Water bottle
4 – Headphones (I have these and I love them)
5 – Proper outdoor gear for the cold
6 – Outdoor gear for the heat
One of the most important choices you can make for the day is how are you going to give your mind a rest to avoid burnout. How will you spend some time being mindful and staying in the present among all of the busyness?
Taking a daily walk is sure to help. If you prepare yourself to take a walk with mindfulness in mind, the benefits will last all day and help you sleep better.
So lace up those walking shoes and good luck! Don’t forget to jot down these tips in your mindfulness journal. HAPPY MINDING!
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