If you don't know what mindfulness is, let me give you the Cliff's Notes real quick: it's being aware of what you are feeling and thinking in this moment without judgement. Simple definition for something that is not so simple to do!
So there are 2 parts to it, being present and not judging. And frankly, they can both be pretty tricky at times! But when you practice mindfulness, you open yourself up to more awareness and more gratitude and creativity and connection and joy! And who doesn't want more of those?
I will tell you this, as a mama of 3, I found meditation to be really difficult because my mom brain is always thinking about a million things at once, kids come in and interrupt me, and I simply cannot be still for very long. Meditation felt more like the high maintenance cousin of mindfulness to me. Mindfulness was something that felt more "doable" and accessible to me because it involved being aware of how you feel and what is going on at this moment while you are doing whatever it is that you are doing! THAT I could get behind! I could be driving or eating and practice mindfulness? Done. Count me in. I can try that!
So if you have always wanted to meditate, mindfulness is a great path to that! But if you have found meditation a little challenging or even difficult, and you don't want to meditate at all, this is a great practice that may feel more accessible or doable while accomplishing much of the same thing as meditation! And mindful walking is a great way to start to check in with you and the world and the people around you!
A simple way to start practicing mindfulness is while you are walking. It could be a long walk, but it doesn't have to be! You can walk around the block for starters! OR park a little further from the grocery store or work and allow yourself a little extra time to walk into the building while you practice.
Here are 4 things to think about while you walk mindfully:
Just walk and notice your tempo and style. What is you cadence and gate? Are you bouncy and energetic? Are you slower and grounded? Do you walk faster or slower? Long steps or short steps? As you notice your walk, don't judge it. Think of it as though you are simply studying it.
Notice the strike of your foot on the ground and how the earth, concrete, wood, or carpet feel underneath it as your foot hits the ground? What hits first, your toe or heel?
Wake up your senses! Look all around! Look side to side and up at the sky, look behind you and really notice specific things. Take a deep breath and notice the smells around you like flowers, fresh cut grass, BBQ, or anything else. Listen to all the sounds around you from the closest sounds like your breath and your heartbeat to the farther sounds like the closest highway or a distant dog barking. And feel free to take as long as you want on each sense as you walk. Pick one at a time and focus on just that.
Notice where your thoughts go. Come back to just walking, without music or podcasts or talking to anyone, just you, and notice what you are thinking about! Try remaining as non-judgmental as you can! Just be curious and interested and see what you are thinking about and go back to walking!
Thats it! That is how you take a mindful walk! Give it a try! Do it with your kids! Or if you run or bike, try it on your next outing!
If you'd like to watch my youTube video of a guided Mindful Walk, watch below!