Mindful Walking in Nature

There is a widespread misunderstanding about mindfulness that prevents people from realizing its limitless benefits. Mindfulness does not exist only in quiet, still spaces. Mindfulness surrounds us, and experiencing mindfulness in nature is particularly helpful. Attending to calm surroundings not only connects us to our environment, but to a deeper place in our own being. For those struggling to be mindful, and even for those proficient in meditation, a mindful walk through nature can ease many troubles.

What does it mean to walk mindfully?

Walking mindfully is realizing the external effect of the actual process of walking and the subsequent internal experience. To walk mindfully, the focus must be on each of your senses, rather than the end destination. With each step, you must focus on placing one foot in front of the other. You listen closely to the beat of your own heart, as well as the sounds of crunching leaves and singing birds. You gaze at all that surrounds you, paying close attention to the trees nearby and the sun in the distance. Without even realizing it, your thoughts are likely to quiet as the mental fog clears.

A mindful walk shifts your perspective.

Rather than focusing on the troubles of your current day or week, your awareness is restricted to the moment that you are in, connecting external and internal realities. However, this is not a deliberate avoidance of stress. Instead, it is a means of embracing the total experience and allowing yourself to view small problems in the larger realm of nature.

Why is it so important to walk in nature?

Although any kind of walk can be beneficial when striving to expel negative energy, it is nature itself that proffers a cleansing result. A study using portable brain technology demonstrated the differences in a walk through nature compared to a walk in an urban center. Green spaces require less of our mental attention, allowing the brain to relax, thereby reducing mental fatigue. We are often over-engaged, and a walk through nature can have a restorative effect.

What are the benefits of a mindful walk?

For those resistant to the idea of meditation, a mindful walk is a great option. Walking is an activity busy enough to motivate those who feel restless in a sitting meditation pose, but still quiet enough of an activity to allow the mind to focus. There are several benefits to a mindful walk:

  • Combats stress
  • Uplifts mood
  • Strengthens concentration
  • Increases awareness
  • Promotes body consciousness
  • Helps manage negative feelings

A mindful walk through nature encourages us to remember that we are part of something larger than ourselves, and that integrating our environment with our internal thoughts can promote connectedness throughout every aspect of our lives.

If you are struggling to connect to the present moment, a mindful walk through nature is an easy and healthy habit to develop. With practice, you’ll find that you can employ mindful walking at any point in your day, even in urban settings. Mindfulness can easily be incorporated into everything, and it will be easier to achieve awareness in life if you have practiced first in nature. The natural environment asks very little of us, and can hold our attention while also allowing for reflection.

Are you interested in learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life? Please join us on Friday, 10/27/17 from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm for a stimulating evening on the topic of How to Communicate Mindfully Around Difficult Topics.