It’s well known that walking has various health benefits. Apart from burning calories, it’s a gentle way to stay fit and has a positive impact on your blood pressure, your heart and even your digestion.
But did you know that a hike through nature or a
Here’s how you can use walking to reduce stress and raise your mood.
Going for a walk is a great way to relax your mind and body. Even a short walk can be the perfect break when you feel overwhelmed by stress. Sometimes, moving your body – even gently – and breathing some fresh air can already do the trick.
Quiet your thoughts
Whether you opt for a brisk walk around the block or a comfortable stroll, walking can help you clear your thoughts and take some distance.
The only fact that you are mentally and physically moving away from stress has an important impact on your well-being and will help you calm down.
Boost your mood
Like any other type of exercise, walking briskly triggers the release of endorphins, the so-called feel-good hormone. This will not only help you combat stress but also boost your mood and energy levels.
Check in with yourself
Throughout our hectic day, we tend to become unaware of our feelings and mood. Why not take the opportunity of a stroll to check in with yourself? Ask yourself how you feel physically and mentally. Acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Become aware of the thoughts that are crossing your mind.
Connect with nature
Spending time outdoors, especially in nature, is another great way to reap the stress-busting effects of walking.
Obviously, we don’t always have the possibility to walk in nature. However, in most cities, you can opt for a walk through a park, a green area, or along the riverside.
Going for a walk is the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. One option is to just enjoy your walk without any distraction and be extremely aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the details. What do you see? What sounds can you hear? How does the air smell? You could even pick one sense and completely focus on it.
Another interesting way of being mindful is combining meditating and slowly walking. Start by becoming aware of your breathing, feel your feet touching the ground, the air caressing your skin, etc. Or you could try a guided walking meditation like this one from Gaby Bernstein.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Some people also like to use walking to focus on something or look for inspiration. Maybe you are stuck on a project and are looking for new ideas? Or you’ve been trying to resolve a problem for a while. A comfortable stroll can help you focus or gain new perspective.
Going for a walk can also simply mean taking a break to entertain yourself. Play your favorite album or your latest audiobook, and off you go!
This option can be particularly interesting for people who don’t necessarily enjoy walking. Listening to amazing music or a captivating story will help you go for longer walks.
Meet a friend
Next time you are planning to see a friend, invite them for a walk instead of a coffee (or do both!). You will quickly notice the benefits:
- You’ll combine the stress-relieving effects of spending time with someone you appreciate and gentle exercise.
- You’ll be fully present with that person without any distractions.
- You can discuss light topics that will lift your mood.
- Or you can share something that’s been causing you stress or help them deal with difficult situations.
- You’ll probably walk more than you would on your own.
“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
Alone, with a friend or with your family, going for a walk can be done almost anywhere and fit into any schedule. Try to include it into your daily routine and it won’t take long until you see how effeciently walking can help you reduce stress.