July 20, 2017
A mindful walk is an excellent way to clear your mind of clutter and restore your sense of focus. It is also a great excuse to get out into nature. Several studies have shown that taking a break to look at or be in nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the brain, helping to free up your mind when you feel stuck and boosting levels of attention.1
Incorporate mindful walking into your daily life in as little as 5-10 minutes a day by using all of your senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch — to bring awareness to your body and surroundings.
Here’s how to do it:
- As you walk, notice how your body feels.
- Pay attention to how your legs, feet and arms feel with each step you take.
- Feel the contact of your foot as it touches the ground, and the movement of your body as you move into your next step.
- If you become lost in thought as you continue to walk, use the next step as an opportunity to start over.
- Now using your sense of sight, look around and try to notice every detail.
- Using your sense of smell, notice any aromas or scents.
- Are you able to notice any tastes as you walk? Can you taste the air?
- Now using your sense of touch, notice the solidity of the earth beneath your feet.
- With openness and curiosity, notice any sensations, thoughts or feelings that arise, without lingering on anything in particular.
You can mindfully walk anywhere—outside while walking to work or school, for example, or inside while walking through the grocery store. You might find it helpful to use a guided audio track to get started. Try this short, 5 minute mindful walking track by Stop, Breathe & Think. Life is a journey. Enjoy a little peace of mind on the path toward your destination.
1. 40-second green roof views sustain attention: Lee et al.; Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation: Gregory N. Bratmana, et al; Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305