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    From Desiree
    January 17, 2014

Take a Walk on the Mindful Side



When I walk my dogs in the morning, my mind often wanders far away from my peaceful island surroundings.  I catch myself planning my day and/or thinking about tasks I need to do in the near future (make a dentist appointment, replace my watch battery).  Or, even worse, I worry about something I “should” do in the future or “shouldn’t” have done in the past.  Bottom line:  my walks aren’t very relaxing.  I would enjoy my walks more if I were more mindful – i.e., more focused on the present moment. 

Most of our stress comes from agonizing about the past (coulda, shoulda, woulda) or worrying about the future.  To take a break from stress, try focusing on the present instead of the past or the future.  Assuming you are safe in the present moment, you are ok.  

To make your walks more mindful, try a walking meditation:

  • Walk slower than your normal fitness-walking pace
  • Walk back and forth in a straight line, or in a circle, so you don’t have to pay attention to where you’re going
  • Focus your gaze in front of you
  • Focus on the sensations in your feet or legs, or feel your whole body moving
  • Pay attention to one aspect of your walking:  your feet striking the ground, your hips moving, or your breathing, for example
  • If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to focus on your body (without being too hard on yourself)
  • Counting your steps (up to 10, then start over) or your breaths (up to 4) may help you to stay focused on your body
  • Walk mindfully for 10 minutes (or longer, if you can)

With practice, you can learn to be more present in the current moment.  Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach.

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