When my younger brother was small, he would frequently get stressed and anxious. I would put him in the car and drive to a nearby National forest and we would walk the trails.
Both of us still love walking nature trails. It is a relaxing and refreshing way to get away from the stresses of everyday life while getting in shape.
Walking as Meditation Practice
Walking meditation is a revered form of mindfulness practice. Danny Dreyer, creator of the ChiWalking program, says it rivals tai chi, yoga and sitting meditation as a stress reliever. Walking nature trails adds the element of communing with the plants, trees and animals to make it even more relaxing.
Find a Quiet Place
Walk where the environment can soothe you. Near a body of water such as a lake, stream, river or on a deserted beach is excellent. Seek a place where all you need to do is take in the surroundings without having noise destroying your peace of mind.
Don’t Make a Race Out of It
Nature trail walking is not about building up your cardio endurance, although if you walk a steep or rugged trail, it can get your heart pumping. It’s about getting out of your stress-filled life and getting into the stress-free nature zone. There is nothing wrong with hiking for fitness, but when you are already stressed, it is best just to meander along slowly and let yourself unwind.
As you start to walk, concentrate on your breathing. Note any tension, starting at your head, and release your tightness with each exhalation. Move down your body, one part at a time, until your entire body is relaxed. Stop along the way, sit and do some breathing exercises to help you relax even more.
Increase The Length of Your Walks
Once you start hiking in nature, you will be surprised how fast time flies. At first, it may be difficult for you to complete 15 minutes because you are still tight and stressed, but that should be your minimum. As you get more relaxed and stronger, you will want to walk forever, never leaving your peaceful place to go back to your stressful life.
Walking in nature is an excellent way to relieve the tensions of everyday life. There is something about the great outdoors that soothes a frazzled spirit like nothing else can. Try a nature walk soon and see for yourself.