There has been an increase in anxiety and depression lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, instead of relying on a job, a political leader, or any other external influence to make you happy, you can learn to be responsible for your own internal happiness. A great way to maintain a sense of happiness and peace during times of chaos is to go for a walk. As you walk, you can practice a moving meditation that will leave you feeling less shaken by the world no matter what life throws your way.
Walking With Mindfulness
While walking is a great form of exercise, it can also be a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment and being aware of your body, mind, and feelings. Mindfully walking presents you with the opportunity to incorporate meditation into your everyday life without having to be in a seated position. Practicing this helpful combination regularly can help you become more connected with your body and your surroundings, while also making you happier and healthier internally.
Be Mindful of the Physical Sensation of Walking
While you are walking, pay attention to how you feel from heel to toe. Think about choosing one foot to start with, lifting it, moving it through the space, and feeling it touch the ground. Observe the sensations and movements that you normally would not notice, like how your feet feel on the earth or how your arms swing as you move. You can also take note of how fast your heart is beating and the sweat beading on your face. Try to think only about what is going on with you physically, instead of anything happening outside of yourself.
Feel Your Five Senses
Notice the sounds of life happening around you. Observe your thoughts about what you are experiencing. Are you judging the sounds you are hearing as good or bad? Try to consciously let go of judgment and allow things to be as they are. Take the time to focus on your other senses as well, paying attention to what you see, smell, and even taste as you walk. Let yourself fully experience everything in the present moment, from the weather to the wind, to the sound of birds chirping and the sight of leaves falling.
Acknowledge and Dismiss Your Thoughts
While you walk in green landscapes, thoughts may be racing in your mind. It is very normal for your mind to wander. When you feel your thoughts taking over, let them go. As you walk, let your movement be an opportunity to redirect your attention back to your next step. Mindfully walking is a great exercise to help you focus on your present state of being, instead of the thoughts swimming in your head. During this practice, you have absolutely no responsibilities besides exploring the beauty and wonder around you.
Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between job losses, people getting sick, and not being able to be near loved ones, the mental stressors can feel never-ending. By combining walking with mindfulness, you have two powerful tools that can combat mental health symptoms. We at Alta Loma understand what you are going through and we want you to know that you don’t have to do it all alone. Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alta Loma’s transformative treatment center can help you take control of your mental health. We are equipped with mindfulness activities that will help you to manage stress and feel a sense of peace. We can provide you with a full psychiatric evaluation as well as individualized therapy, art therapy and other therapeutic recreational activities, life and coping skills education and more. To learn more about our programs, please call us at (866) 457-3843.