Mindfulness is the practice of rejecting everyday distractions in order to pay attention to the present moment. It can take some time to master, but is a skill you’ll never forget, and can reap the mental health benefits of long into the future. With this in mind, mindful walking simply means that rather than walking for exercise, you take the time to really focus on the natural world around you: from rays of sunlight catching leaves to birdsong echoing from above you. Here are some tips to get you started.
Pick a quieter time of day. There’ll probably be fewer people around if you go for a walk in the early morning or later in the evening, making it easier to follow social distancing rules as well as being a far more peaceful experience.
Try turning off your electronic devices. Digital detoxing and escaping those pesky notifications will help you to slow down and focus on your surroundings.
Use all of your senses. When did you last touch a tree trunk and feel the rough bark, or notice the way sunlight breaks through the clouds, or try to pick out all the different types of birdsong around you?
Pay attention to your breathing. This is a great way to relax and clear your mind, so you can focus on what’s around you. If you can find a quiet spot where you can distance from other people, try closing your eyes and taking ten slow, deep breaths in and out, then gently open your eyes and bring your awareness back to your surroundings, taking time to notice how much calmer your mind feels.
Exercise and being outdoors is great for both our physical and our mental health, particularly in these uncertain times. However, please make sure you’re always practicing social distancing and following government guidelines.