Mindfulness has become a buzzword in the past couple of years. It’s not surprising, given that we live in such a fast-paced digital world. In fact, research shows that spending just six minutes per day on a mindfulness activity can have a significant impact on your stress levels and general wellbeing. Also known as “meditation” or “inward awareness,” mindfulness is an exercise of focusing your attention on the present moment rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. There are many ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your life. Here are some benefits of walking meditations and a simple guide to get you started anywhere you feel comfortable enough to walk slowly and with intention.
What is Mindful Walking
Mindful walking is when you walk with a sense of awareness. You’re not trying to get anywhere in particular — rather, you’re walking with the intention of being here, now. Try experimenting with this form of walking throughout the day, looking for opportunities where you can practice mindful walking. You can also engage in mindful walking when you’re feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed.
Benefits of Walking
When you’re walking, you’re in full communication with your body — including any and all of your senses. Through this sense of awareness, you’re also able to become more empathetic with your environment and the other people around you. There are many different reasons why you should incorporate walking into your everyday lifestyle. For one, walking is a low-impact exercise that’s suitable for almost everyone. It’s also an effective way to improve your mental health and decrease stress levels. In fact, a healthy dose of physical activity can decrease your chances of developing depression by up to 27%.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindful walking can help you cultivate a more positive mindset. You can apply mindful walking to help you become more mindful of your negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and anger. Mindful walking can also help you cultivate a sense of empathy for others and your environment. With increased mindfulness, you’re able to recognize the importance of being in the moment.
How to practice Mindful Walking
You don’t need special walking gear to practice mindful walking. You can walk anywhere, anytime and in any type of footwear you prefer. Most importantly, be mindful of your breathing and body as you walk. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, focus on breathing slowly and deeply to calm yourself. If you feel like you’re zoning out or thinking too much, bring your focus back to the present moment. Try being aware of your mind, body and surroundings.
With your mind, try clearing your thoughts and focus on your breathing. You thoughts will naturally deviate towards everything happening in your life, be aware of this and try bringing your thoughts back to your breathing when you notice this. Focus on your senses – the feeling of breeze on your skin, the smell of morning dew, the sounds of the bird calls and the sight of greenery around you. Enjoy being present in the moment.
Mindful walking is a kind of meditation that can help you connect better with your body and the world around you. It can help you cultivate a more positive mindset and feel more connected to others. In addition to improving your mental health, there are also many physical benefits to walking that include reducing stress, pain, and inflammation. You don’t need special walking gear to practice mindful walking. Focus on breathing and your body as you walk and you’ll be off to a great start.
Need another reason to walk? Try a walking group near you. KeepActive is a new Australian startup looking to connect people with locals through physical activity groups like walking, hiking or sports. Physical activity groups can be a great way to make new friends and make staying fit fun.