When asked, most people say that taking a walk out in nature is a very effective way to bring more balance and health into a busy life. Time outside, away from activity and technology, can bring more clarity of mind when you are stressed or facing situations beyond your control. Taking a walk in the sunlight, feeling the breeze, and enjoying the beauty around you is very refreshing for the mind and spirit with the added benefit of healthy exercise for the body.
Find a place to walk that is accessible and easy to get to from your home or place of work. A city park with pathways or a local arboretum can be convenient but still offer the balancing, healing effects of green space: trees, grass, plants and animals.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while taking a break outside to gain more balance and health:
1. Give yourself enough time so you don’t have to hurry. A 40 minute walk is really enough time to refresh the mind and get some good exercise. Brown bagging your lunch at a picnic table before your walk can even give you enough time on your lunch hour. If you have the luxury of more time, that’s even better!
2. Try to take your walk in silence. Instead of listening to music with earphones (which can draw your attention away from the experience around you), try to focus on the sights and sounds in the environment–the plants and flowers, the wind in the trees, birds chirping, or the rushing of water in a stream or fountain. This will help to keep you in the present moment.
3. Have an intent for your walk. Examples of intents can be: “To bring more balance into my life” or “To give my mind and body a break for pure enjoyment and health.” Having a clear intent can help you get the greatest benefit from your walk.
© Copyright Mary Claire O’Neal
Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World: The Art of Joyful Living. www.maryclaireoneal.com