When was the last time you took a walk?
When was the last time you took a walk and didn’t touch your phone?
When was the last time you took a walk and didn’t touch your phone because you were intentionally taking in the sights and sounds around you?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve often used your nature walks as just a change of scenery to stress, overthink, plan and analyze your life and lengthy to-do list. Mindful walking means paying attention to each breath and each step, moment-by-moment without judgement or expectation – while on a trail, strolling through your neighborhood or even taking a break from screens to walk through your backyard.
Below are 4 techniques you can try to help each step create a pathway for peace and clarity:
- Notice your 5 senses – Pay attention to your 5 senses as you explore your surroundings. What can you hear? What can you taste in the air? What can you smell? What can you see close and far off? What is your body touching and how does the earth feel under your feet?
- Call out things that make you smile – To raise your consciousness means to name out loud things that bring you joy. This sky is pretty, these flowers smell nice, the temperature feels good against my skin, etc. Take it all in and say it out loud.
- Ditch the headphones – Instead of filling the time with audiobooks, podcasts and music, be present with the sounds that nature is trying to communicate.
- Take a body scan – As you walk, scan through your body from head to toe. Notice, without judging, what comes up for you with each step and each breath. What do you need in this moment, what parts of your body are holding onto tension and where can you find release? Focus on each individual part of your body for a few breaths and then move on to the next.
I typically walk for 2 miles and for the first mile, I don’t touch my phone or headphones. I bring my full attention to my 5 senses (my favorite technique!) and refocus on my breath whenever my mind wanders.
Try this 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Mindfulness Technique on your next nature walk:
Notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can touch, 1 thing you can taste
Getting in your daily steps can become a mindful experience when you deliberately bring your attention to the present moment. Try one of the above techniques on your next walk and let me know how it went.