Walking is my favorite form of exercise. It’s gentle, doesn’t inspire any of my unpleasant exercise addiction thinking, and it can be a mindfulness practice! Here’s 10 ideas to stay present and mindful during a walk:

mindful walking

 

  1. Focus on your feet and how the pressure moves from heel to toe as you make each step. Listen to the sounds your feet make on the ground below you.
  2. Pay attention to all the natural sounds you hear. Try to listen only for birds, rustling leaves, wind, and other things from the natural world (i.e., not traffic).
  3. Direct your focus to your scalp. Notice how it feels when the breeze moves your hair. Can you feel the warmth of the sun on your scalp?
  4. Notice how your arms swing as you walk. When you walk faster, do your arms swing differently? Try changing your arm position and seeing how that feels.
  5. Focus on your breathing. I like focusing on the tip of my nose and how each breath feels in my nostrils. You can also focus on how your chest or belly moves when you breathe. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth and see how that feels.
  6. Notice all the different colors around you. Look at the grass, the sidewalk, the sky, and the trees. Soak in all the colors. Look for differences – is the grass greener over here? Are the leaves on that type of tree a different color than another type of tree?
  7. If it’s hot out and you’re starting to sweat, regard with appreciation how your body is keeping you cool. Focus on how it feels when the breeze hits your skin.
  8. Focus on the actual act of walking. Isn’t it amazing how your body just knows how to do this? Pay attention to each stage of each step. How are your muscles working together to make it happen? What tiny movements are you making to keep balanced?
  9. Touch things around you. Feel the texture of leaves as you pass them. Lean down and feel the grass. Glide your hand along a railing, pick a flower and touch each petal, or meet a dog out for a walk and give it a pat.
  10. Do a slow head-to-toe body scan. Focus first on your scalp, then your face, then neck, chest, back, rear, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, and toes. Thank each part of your body for helping you experience the world as you go.

Kate Fitch

I've been with the Network since 2015, when I started as a volunteer. I've been on staff as the Communications Specialist since January 2017. I'm currently in college and pursuing a dual BA in Public Health and Public Administration. I'm most passionate about making sure that people with mental health conditions are fairly represented in the media, at policy tables, and in treatment system planning. In my spare time, I like to crochet, knit, and be the best cat mom ever.

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