When my head is full, when life is getting on top of me, when I feel as if the pressure cooker is going to explode, I take myself for a walk.
Walking in open space and in the fresh air has the magical effect of slowing things down. I can feel my shoulders drop as I walk. Walking anywhere works but if you can get into nature then that’s the best medicine of all. I cannot return from a walk in a bad mood.
By going out, you take yourself away from the usual distractions, like the people and situations, which often cause the stress you might be feeling. I would urge you to turn your phone off so you’re not disturbed and give this time to you. It’s an investment and one you will reap the benefits from, especially if you start to do it regularly.
One of my favourite places to walk is Epping Forest which is close to where I live and where I can walk for miles if I choose. You could do a few circuits of a lake though, walk along a canal or river or in a park. You don’t have to walk all the time either, you can choose to sit.
Try to let go of everything that’s filling your mind. Look around you, breathe in and feel the relaxation enter your body. On breathing out, imagine all that stress and tension leaving you.
Visualise your troubles being carried off in the wind and out of reach.
Shake your body out and again imagine that you are letting all the negative thoughts go.
There is always something to be seen wherever you walk. Nature changes from season to season and you may just become tempted to see the year through on your walks. Who would want to miss the buds unfurling; baby ducks or swans on the lake; fungi in the Fall and those glorious colours as the year draws to a close.
If you aren’t in reflective mode and rather feel frustration and annoyance, then you may just want to pound those feelings into the path as you walk. It may become part of a march for a while but there are no rules, so do your own thing, whatever works for you.
I find spending some time in mindful walking useful, you can do this by bringing all senses to play and looking, listening, feeling,
tasting and hearing but I find it’s even better to focus on one sense at a time.
So you might spend 10 minutes just focusing on what you can hear for example. The more you do it, the better you get at it. I find that I have become expert at spotting fungi from afar!!
If you’re interested in exploring this further, visit here and download my FREE 7 Days of Mindful Walking.
When walking mindfully, you are so in the moment and when you are in that place you cannot think about anything else. This is a huge bonus.
Walking can become the prevention to stress too, especially long term stress. By getting into the habit of bringing this everyday activity into your life, it becomes a tool which stops stress building.
I burnt out about in 2013/2014, something I cover in my book ‘How Walking Saved My Life’. My stress levels were high and walking was one of the mainstays in my recovery. I no longer have that long term stress, sure I get the immediate stuff that everyone gets, but nothing like it used to be. In fact I feel very strongly that walking saved my life. Perhaps there is guidance in my book that would help you too. You can get your copy below.