Meditative walking is one way to reconnect with yourself and the natural world. It’s a simple, free and a wonderful way to calm the mind. For instance, I’ve been taking 30-minute meditative walks during my work day and they have helped me deal with stress and anxiety.
Below are a few steps to get started . . .
1. Make the time.
In an age of distraction, I think it’s incredibly important to focus on the present moment and make time to take care yourself. Let go of your worries and go for a walk. Even a small 10-minute walk can do a world of good. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “”Anyone can do it. It takes only a little time, a little mindfulness, and the wish to be happy.”
2. Go outside.
Go outside and start walking. Walking fast isn’t a requirement. Instead, focus on your steps, how you feel, and your surroundings. Think about the sights, sounds, smells and little creatures you see along the way.
3. Be aware of your breath.
Controlling your breath is not the goal of walking meditation. Rather it’s about awareness. Be aware of your breath and how your feet feel against the earth. Thich Nhat Hanh says that “each step of our journey becomes the destination. Meditation replaces sorrow and anxiety with peace and joy.”
4. Walk slowly.
There is no need to walk at a fast pace. Enjoy the moment and where you are, whether that’s on a cold concrete city street or in a beautiful park dotted with lush green trees. There is beauty everywhere, we just have to slow down long enough to find it.
5. There is no destination, only the here and now.
It’s easy to get caught up in the past, future and stress of everyday life. I’ve discovered that getting caught up in my worries doesn’t bring me any closer to happiness because I get so caught up in the past that I forget the here and now.
Micro-actions: Start walking and read, “The Long Road Turns to Joy: A Guide to Walking Meditation” by Thich Nhat Hanh.