The Multitudinous Benefits of Mindfulness Walking in Nature
It almost sounds too good to be true but walking consciously in Nature has an almost ridiculous amount of benefits for health and well-being, MULTITUDINOUS BENEFITS. Yet, it gets hugely overlooked because it almost seems too simple and like so many situations in our lives, we feel like we should be doing MORE and the simple act of walking through the woods just isn’t going to cut it.
I’ve been practicing Mindfulness walking for several years now and the deeper I delve into this exercise, the more I realise how incredibly powerful and transformative it is.
At its core, this activity includes 3 things that are a huge benefit to our health:
MINDFULNESS ~ NATURE ~ MOVEMENT
The combination of moving our bodies consciously and practicing mindfulness out in Nature creates a powerhouse for well-being and healing.
So here are 5 of the vast array of benefits of walking mindfully in Nature..
1. IT RELIEVES STRESS
Practicing mindfulness alone has been scientifically proven to improve both physical and mental well-being and is an effective tool for combating stress, anxiety, depression, low mood and fatigue. The core of mindfulness is aiming to calm the mind by bringing our attention to the present moment and trying to slow down the analytical brain that has a tendency to generate many unnecessary thoughts. These thoughts almost always cause us to replay our past or try to predict our future so practicing mindfulness allows us to stay more focused on the now which is the only reality we ultimately have.
Walking in Nature has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of cortisol. A hormone we generate that is often linked to stress. Studies also show it reduces heart rate so many scientists have concluded that walking in green space helps to relieve stressful states.
Most commonly known is that exercise or moving the body is proven to boost your mood and improve your health. Most people understand too that when we look after our bodies, this in turn looks after our minds
Therefore practicing mindfulness and moving our bodies out in Nature is a triple pronged approach to beating stress!
2. WALKING BOOSTS CONCENTRATION, UNDERSTANDING AND LEARNING
When you walk slowly in a rhythmical pattern you are utilising both the right and left brain hemisphere functions. In general, the left hemisphere of the brain is associated with logical, linear thinking, while the right is associated with creativity and intuition. Therefore when walking you are engaging both sides and are able to access a deeper level of cognitive brain function. This is a wonderful example of the body/mind connection of which there are many more.
3. NATURE SUPPORTS US TO ARRIVE INTO THE PRESENT MOMENT.
It can be hard to stay in the present moment. Our monkey mind wants to jump all over the place. Swinging back to the past, leaping into an imagined future and it puts our to-do list on repeat.
One way to disconnect from the mind is to connect in with our senses and Nature provides a wonderful sensory backdrop in which to do this exercise. Observing the beauty around you, really noticing the exquisite detail of a tree or flower and appreciating that like you, it is living and breathing. Listening to the sounds of nature around you or the sound of your footsteps or your breath. Being aware of your feet touching the ground, taking a moment to pick up a twig or a feather to feel its texture.
Doing this activity helps the mind slow down. The past and future matter less because THIS moment feels special and important. There is a wonderful sense of connection to the surroundings and to the planet.
4. YOUR ENERGETIC BODY GETS IN FLOW
One of my favourite sayings is ‘Get out of your head and into your body’.
We spend so much time in our heads trying to work out everything from the brain and the mind. The body becomes a mere chaperone for the brain. The body holds an array of energy centres that can be called mini brains. The stomach is widely known as the second brain and fascinating research on the heart proves its electromagnetic field is 60 times stronger than the brain. Our bodies are overflowing with intelligence so when we move our bodies in a conscious way we are connecting with this intelligence and tapping into a vast resource of creativity, intuition and compassion.
As you move your body, so your energy moves and gets in flow, your thoughts and emotions have space to flow and be released.
When you make the empowered choice to step away from the daily hustle and venture into wide open natural spaces, there is a huge sense of freedom. Aside from the obvious rules of respect in Nature there are no rules and regulations. There’s no technology, no artificial light, no walls, no air conditioning, no phones ringing. There’s no traffic, no rushing, no waiting for the green man, no queuing and no unnecessary noise.
No expectations. Just a vast and wide open space of freedom.
There are literally tonnes more benefits and you will just have to join me on a walk to discover them all for yourself.
To find out about and book my next Mindfulness Walk click here
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