La Trobe Counselling Service
- Mindful Walking
Walking as a mindfulness exercise is really beneficial when you want ot have a break from your thoughts and feelings and to get some fresh air. It also encourages you to think about exercise I na mental wellness regime. It doesn’t matter where you walk or how far you walk, the object of this exercise is to ‘be in the moment’. To begin with only walk short distances.
Find an area that you are familiar with, easy to access and safe to walk around, for example your local park or around the block. Try to choose a local area that is easy access with plenty of trees and as little traffic as possible.
Remember to get grounded, that is, notice your feet on the ground, the connection between your feet and the ground, and becoming aware of the support of the ground. Start by taking a few deep breaths, with the air coming in through your nostrils and going out through your mouth. Then gently allow your breath to return to whatever rhythm feels natural for you at the moment.
As you begin your walk, notice everything that you can see, smell, hear and feel and then describe them without criticism or judgement. Notice the sights of the trees, flowers, houses, birds, animals and people. Notice the smells around you as you are in this walk. Notice the sounds that you can hear near and far as you are in this walk. Notice the sensations of the breeze, air and sun as you are in this walk.
Taking all of this in, let yourself be in this moment fully, responding to whatever is reflected in this moment through your senses. Give your attention to the colours that the environment reflects. If there is sunshine, be mindful to that and the beauty inherent to the sun and damp that brings forth life and nourishes living things. Do all that you can to abandon yourself to this moment.
If along the way you get lost in your thoughts, feelings or memories because your mind drifts, this is ok, unhook from those thoughts, feelings and memories and start to describe something you see.
The mind is amazing in the ability to take us to wherever it wants to, simply notice this and come back to this moment in this walk. Bringing your attention to the sounds around you now being present in your walk. Feel your feet touching the ground and lifting, noticing your stride as you walk along at whatever pace is natural to you.
Continue on this way until you decide to finish your walk. When you have finished your walk, bring your attention back to the everyday things and move out of the exercise.