Recharging, reconnecting and being present
High on my “I love” list (a list of things that I love to do that lives on my fridge), is walking in nature with my dogs. Their joy, their explorations, and their general doggy bliss brings me happiness, peace of mind and encourages me to get outside with them. Walking also allows me the opportunity to quiet my mind, to truly appreciate my surroundings, to reconnect with nature and to be in the moment.
I find meditation to be a way to focus my brain, to be aware of my inner voice and critic, to quiet the fluctuations of my mind. Sometimes, I find quieting my mind easier to do if I’m outside on a level-ish, “easy” walking path that doesn’t strain me too much. That way, I’m not too caught up in the process of maneuvering and I can instead take in the leaves, the colors, the smells, the sounds. Sometimes it’s easier for me to quiet my mind if I’m moving, if I have a variety of things to look at. Plus there’s a slew of other benefits for the dogs and myself!
I think it’s important to keep the dogs stimulated now and then, to allow them to sniff and smell a new location, to really stretch their legs. For me, walking outside usually boosts my mood while increasing my awareness and concentration. I also find I feel less stressed after a walk, and I usually sleep better at night. If I’m feeling in a rut or a funk, a physical change of location often helps with a mental switch and refresh as well.
Try getting outside for a walk, try noticing your surroundings instead of navigating on auto-pilot. Make walking outside part of your weekly routine and see the benefits deepen.