Techniques for Taking a Mindful Walk
Going for a walk is a great way to get out of your head and into your environment. It allows you to experience the weather, appreciate your surroundings, and maybe even explore a new part of your neighborhood. Taking a mindful walk allows you to relish in the joys of walking, while also focusing your attention on the present moment. Let’s talk about a few techniques for mindful walking.
Observe your breath. Set your intention to observe your breathing pattern during your walk. Notice if your breathing changes as the walk goes on, and feel free to slow your breath, or try to breathe more deeply, whatever feels good for you in that moment.
Notice the colors around you. When your mind wanders away from the present moment, feel free to anchor yourself by noticing the colors you see. Another option is to choose one color and see how often you can spot that color during your walk.
Describe the sounds you hear. Whether it is children playing, the wind blowing or a dog barking, ground yourself in the sounds of your walk. Practice describing them in detail, as if you are a writer describing them in a novel.
Pay attention to your body as it moves. Walking involves full body movement, so there is a lot to pay attention to. Go ahead and notice the sound your feet make on the ground, or the length of your stride, or how your leg muscles feel as they carry you through the walk.
The benefits of taking a mindful walk include an increased sense of calm and focus, improved mood, healthy movement and practice with grounding your focus in the present. It is an especially good coping skill if you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression, or if you are struggling to remain connected to the present moment. Feel free to choose which mindful walking technique resonates with you and feels like it would be helpful given your current experience.