Well in Mind Self-care Tip of the Week
How to Take a Mindful Hike/Walk
Stop Before You Start
We rarely pause between activities. As a result, we can carry the stress and tension of a previous activity, conversation, or train of thought over into what we are about to do. Before setting off on your hike, take a few moments to allow yourself to come into the present moment, letting go of any thoughts or concerns that might be on your mind.
Practice — Note the Pause between Breaths
Close your eyes and in your own time, without forcing anything, take three long, deep breaths. Allow yourself to make an exaggerated sighing sound on the exhalation, seeing if you can let go a little more with each out breath. Gently hold your attention on your breath and, after each exhalation, allow your next breath to come when it’s ready. This short pause between breaths can be very calming. Once you have taken three deep breaths, allow your breath to resume its natural rhythm. Bring your awareness down into your feet, and pause. Really feel the connection your feet are making with the earth beneath you. Allow yourself to feel grounded, connected, and supported.
You might say silently to yourself, “For the duration of this hike there is nowhere else I need to be; no one else I need to be pleasing. This is my time. Time I’m giving myself to recharge and reconnect with nature.”
When you are ready, gently blink your eyes open and reorient yourself before starting your hike.
Consciously Engage Your Senses
Making the effort to stop along the way and bring conscious awareness to your senses will not only bring you into the present moment and deepen your connection to your surroundings, it will also bring your mind and body back into a state of balance. Your body will start to relax and your mind will begin to settle.
Stop and Tune In
Next time you find yourself outdoors, whether you’re heading off for a hike or even a short stroll, see if you can remember to take a few moments to stop and tune into your surroundings, as well as your physical body, by consciously engaging your senses. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. Feel the sun on your face or the breeze against your skin. Tune into the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around you. Immersing yourself in your surroundings by consciously engaging your senses will leave you feeling calmer, happier and more relaxed, whether you’re hiking the Inca trail or walking through your local park.
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