Psych Central


During the day many of us are moving so fast, sometimes physically, but almost always mentally. Our neurons are firing in hyper speed with so much to do and so much to pay attention to. I’ll often catch myself walking so fast to my car, head tilted forward, and eyes darting to the handle of the door where my next action will be. Sometimes, when I remember my practice, I notice that I’m “rushing home to relax.” In that moment I become present and realize that I don’t have to rush home to relax, I have arrived in the present moment and can choose to “be” different.  Here is a way we can apply this to something many of us do every day…walking.

  • Appreciation - If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to walk, try and remember, it took you over a year to learn how to walk and these legs are often the unsung heroes that take you to and fro day in and day out. Thank your legs for all their efforts.
  • Grounding – Bring your attention to the sensations of your feet and legs as the heel touches the ground, then the base of the foot, then the toes, and then they lift. You can actually say to yourself, “heel, foot, toes, lift.” This is a way to connect to the action of walking in the present moment.
  • Open Awareness – Walk slightly slower and begin to open your awareness to all your senses one by one. Sight, sound, taste, feeling, smell. See what is around you, listen to the sounds, taste the air or whatever is in your mouth, feel the warmth, coolness, or breeze on your cheeks, smell the air. Then stop for a moment and see if you can take in all of the senses.
  • Mantra - As I mentioned in an earlier blog, you can also recite some sayings while taking a few steps. For example, take a few steps and during an in breath say to yourself, “breathing in, I have arrived, breathing out, I am home” or “breathing in, I calm my body, breathing out, I relax”. Or make up your own sayings.   

You can do this while walking to work, running errands, or walking from the car to the door on the way home. Keep in mind this is a practice. So whenever you remember that you are rushing home to relax, or really rushing anywhere, you are now present and can engage in any of these ways of mindful walking. As always, don’t ever take my word for it, try it for yourself!

As always, please share your thought, insights and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

 


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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (March 16, 2009)

From Psych Central's Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
You Want Mental Health? Get into the Body | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (June 22, 2009)

From Psych Central's Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Are You Running Toward Your Death Without Even Knowing It? | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (December 16, 2009)

From Psych Central's Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
10 Ways to Live Mindfulness Today | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (June 7, 2010)

10 Ways to Live Mindfulness Today | A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (June 8, 2010)

WALKING IS GOOD BRAIN EXERCISE « YADUMA (January 27, 2011)

Walking enhances your cognitive skills « The Tahoe Fitness Retreat (March 8, 2011)






    Last reviewed: 16 Mar 2009

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2009). 4 Ways to Walk (Mindfully) into Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 20, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2009/03/walking-mindfully-into-mental-health/

 

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