Walking is a great way to bring mindfulness into your daily life. We normally walk with a head full of to-do lists, remembering, worrying and analysing rather than being present. Using walking as a mindfulness practice allows us to become more connected with our experience. As we walk throughout the day there are plenty of opportunities to practice mindfulness without doing anything extra.
Walking mindfully in nature boosts your wellbeing even more. Spending time in nature has been shown to improve physical and mental wellbeing as well as enhancing life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness and happiness.
So next time you are walking why not try this simple mindfulness practice focusing on the five senses. You can work your way through each of your senses or just focus on one or two.
- Set your intention to be present and leave your to-do list and worries behind.
- As you start to walk take your attention down into your feet. Notice the changing sensations in your feet as you move along. Don’t try to change anything just observe what’s happening step by step in your feet.
- You will find that as you continue to walk that your mind wanders off and you lose focus on the sensations in your feet. That’s perfectly OK as that is what the mind does. Simply notice where it has gone and come back to feeling the sensations in your feet as you walk.
- Now broaden out your awareness to take in any sensations you can feel in or on your body. You may feel muscles contracting and relaxing, your breath as you breathe in and out, the sun on your skin, the touch of fabric.
- Now move your awareness to what you can see. Take in the shapes, colours, movements, and textures of things around you.
- Now become aware of sounds as they come and go. Become curious about the volume, pitch, and tone of sounds. Simply experience the sounds as sounds without judging them.
- Now turn your attention to smells. Let them come and go and notice if you are judging the smells and see if you can let go of the judgments.
- Remember that your mind will wander. When it does simply notice and begin again.