Life Walks: What's The Big Secret?
The benefits of walking certainly get some well-deserved press, particularly over the past few years. Now you can even track your exercise on your hike with wearables that provide tons of personalized data for you to optimize your health. But while these can be a useful tool, I think there is another thing to employ that is much more valuable:
There are two directions we can go with our attention, inward or outward. Both can be powerful. Say you’re on your hike. Going inward with our attention, or introverting, can have truly positive effects. If we are performing creative problem solving on the aspects of our life, it’s a true de-stressor, because it relieves anxiety. But what if going inward results in the opposite? Just a never ending circuit of ruminating about all the things that are not going right in our lives… By the time you get to the end of your hike, you might find yourself even more stressed because of where we put our attention. You may not even have seen a thing that you walked by!
But there is a solution: The other direction. Move your attention outward. Look around you as you walk or hike. Consciously acknowledge what you see, what you hear, what you feel. It could be new flowers you see sprouting, the gurgle of the of a spring that is running, the breeze on your skin. You are where you are.
Case in point, my daughter just interrupted my writing period with a facetime call. She was out on a walk, mulling over exciting vacation plans, and she wanted to show me the bright, sunny day, the snow-covered mountains, and her neighborhood street. We moved our focus from the tasks at hand to appreciate the life around us in that moment. That is a really healthy walk. And I feel energized and thankful that she shared it with me.
The summer 2023 newsletter contains more stories of folks redirecting their attention with the ultimate result of bettering their health, as well as information on other fundamentals of making your hike or walk the most satisfying and healthy experience. Please enjoy, be well, and happy hiking!