Mindful Walking : A New Dimension

Its Summer !

It’s the Summer and traditionally a time for revealing more of our body to the world. One of the first things to go is my boots – replaced by flip flops and sandals. Not only does the feeling of the air around my feet give me a feeling of freedom, but it also allows me to indulge more deeply in one of my favourite pastimes – mindful walking as a form of mindfulness practice. Not heard of Mindful Walking? Read on!  

What is Mindfulness?

The term “mindfulness” always makes me giggle, as it is actually the art of mind emptiness. Mindfulness is about being present. We often ask groups that we work with – “are you mindful or is your mind full”. Do you have one thing happening in your brain at any one time?  Or is your brain herding dozens of thoughts so that even whilst you are scanning this article you are also thinking about your lunch, your shopping list and “what was the time again? I’m sure I should be somewhere”. 

Mindfulness is doing one thing and allowing all other thoughts and concerns to drift away, without judgement. It is about enjoying life and finding more in the here and now. The effect is to give your brain a rest so that it can be more effective when you try something more complex. Another effect is happiness.

Singular focus

Mindfulness is about singular focus. It could be on your breathing, or on a mundane task such as cleaning the car. That focus allows you to unpack more from any experience than a superficial glance will allow. You have a choice, you can peg the washing on the line whilst thinking about an argument you just had, or you could let that argument go and notice the birds singing, the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. Five minutes of that is like a massage for your soul. It lowers your blood pressure and allows some space for creative thinking and a more rational or effective response to matters requiring judgement. 

Five minutes of mindfulness is like a massage for your soul!

Mindful Walking – Lets get on with it !  

You can do anything mindfully and to the exclusion of other thoughts, but here is an exercise on mindful walking. This may be appeal to you if you find sitting quietly a challenge. 

Stand up, feel the ground supporting you.

Make sure you are balanced equally on both feet.

Move one foot forward by placing it on the ground slowly, heel first, then roll your foot so the ball of the foot touches the floor followed next by your toes.

Repeat with your other foot.

Do all of this slowly and focus on your breath, breathing in between steps and breathing out as your foot is placed – ensuring that your breath lasts for the whole of the foot movement.

If you have a thought, let it go. 

After a few steps stop and check in with yourself. What else is happening ? What else have you noticed about your surroundings or about your body. Are you holding tension anywhere? Are you hot or cold? hungry or thirsty? 

One step further…. 

In the midst of focusing on my feet, I also noticed a further sensation I had forgotten about. As a child my feet were bare as often as possible but it’s not something we usually do as an adult other than when we are swimming or on the beach. We have 7,000 nerve endings in our foot but when we the last time you experienced the world through them? 

 A couple of years ago I got curious to see how it felt to go barefoot more often – it’s amazing! Whilst mindful walking I take off my shoes and focus on the different sensations of the earth under my feet. On a hot day, there is nothing like walking barefoot on slightly damp grass to cool them. Carpets also have a variety of different textures, as do tiles. Even when I’m not walking with intention I do now register the feeling of the ground beneath me. I have even been known to get curious in business meetings and slip my shoes off to test out the carpet. Did you know that some stripey carpets have small ridges in them? Try it out! 

Next steps 

For more ideas around mindfulness, come along to one of our FREE events at the Bristol & Bath Science Park. We have Engage! Mind Level Two and Three which includes  mindfulness and meditation sessions as well as an overview on mental health and having better conversations. These sessions are running on 18th June 2019 and 12th December 2019 from 10am – 12pm. Our sessions are workshops full of tips and techniques for easy changes you can make today.    

Book here 

Or book us for your workplace!

Here is what people are saying about us

“Great presenters, content was practical, realistic and easy to understand. Useful tips for using day-to-day”

“Always enjoyable”

We would love to hear more about your own mindful walking, and to see you at our next event!

Sharing is caring! Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail
About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. www.discoveryourbounce.com www.time-to-change.org.uk