Mindful walking brings awareness and intention to your stroll, with added benefits to your body and mind.
- Pause with purpose and pay attention occasionally as you walk.
- Make a point to take in your surroundings. Ask yourself this question when you start to walk: What’s one new thing I can notice?
- Tune into the sounds or sights you encounter while walking. Don’t try to figure it out or evaluate it (e.g., What is that bird? That is noisy!). Instead, simply listen and see from an open and receptive space of mind.
- Stop and take at least one mindful breath when you get to your destination.
Try a more formal approach to mindfulness.
Instead of adding a few, intentional moments to your walk, you can take a more formal approach to mindful walking. This type of walking is best done in a quiet, private place. Ideally, the spot allows you to walk forward and back approximately ten paces without obstruction.
Once you’ve found the right space:
- Stand for a minute and take a few mindful breaths.
- Lift your right foot, move it forward, and place it on the ground in front of you. As you do so, gently note the actions of lifting, moving, and placing your foot. Connect your attention to the physical sensations of each of these phases of movement.
- Do the same with the left foot—lift, move, place.
- Move slowly, but not so slowly that you lose your balance. Be attentive to the sensations in your feet and legs but keep your head up and your gaze forward as you walk.
- Feel the sensations instead of thinking about them. If actively noting “lift, move, and place” distracts you or leads to endless thinking, then don’t use it. Just stay with the feeling of the movement.
- When you reach the end of your path, stop, breathe, and slowly turn around.
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
When you’re done, pause again for a minute of breathing. Continue to practice mindfulness by learning how to bring this level of awareness into other activities you do every day.
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