I took a 3-mile walk to my daughter’s house on a warm February morning in the California Central Valley. I listened to the 10% Happier podcast about the value of meditation. Then with sleeves rolled up I ran around with 2-year old Lexi, had a tea party at her house, and then started home. As I got out my ear buds to listen to another podcast, I thought about mindfulness. A 2-year old notices everything on a walk. The birds, the cracks in the sidewalk, and her hair blowing in the wind.
I decided to take a mindful meditation walk and let my mind relax rather than feeling like I need to learn something as I often do. It was time to give my mind a break.
I looked up at the trees, listened to my feet hit the ground, noticed the sound of the gulls, the geese eating grass, and the cloudy sky. I was so entranced with my mindful moment that I had to stop and take a picture. I felt the humidity and realized it would probably rain tomorrow. Within a few minutes I was seeing what was around me, being mindful of the moment, and emptying my mind of random thoughts and things to do. When I got home I was able to think and write more clearly.
Research at Yale University and Harvard suggest that we can actually change our brains through meditation and have less anxiety and depression. In fact, it seems we are less happy when our minds wander from thought to thought.
Rather than relaxing in a chair to meditate, a mindful meditation walk is an exhilarating way to exercise the body while quieting the mind to make room for new adventures. With so much change and anxiety in our lives and work this simple practice appears to have many stress reducing benefits.
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Nancy Miller, M.S. is a Career Counselor, Life Coach, and writer. Nancy will assist you with story ideas, organizing your book whether fiction or nonfiction, and choosing a method for publishing and printing.