We spend way too much time stuck up in our heads ruminating on the past or speculating about the future; useless thoughts which frankly are only serving to clog up our minds and inhibit our productivity. That’s why it is helpful to have some techniques up our sleeves that can swiftly relax the mind, briefly distract us from our mind babble, and in turn unleash our creativity. Like those light bulb moments you might be accustomed to in the shower. Another such technique is mindful walking.
How to practice mindful walking:
- Stand still with your eyes open.
- Gather your attention, and bring it to the pressure and sensations in your feet where they make contact with the ground.
- Mindfully take a step forward using your full attention at every moment: as you lift your foot, extend it forward, place it down, and shift your weight onto it.
- Pause to observe the pressure and sensations in your feet at the point that they make contact with the ground.
- Repeat step 3-4 with the next foot, synchronising your movement with your breathing if you wish (breathing in as your lift your foot, and breathing out as you move and place it down again).
- Continue for as long as desired at the preferred speed.
It sounds easy, and that’s because it is easy. The only tricky part is remembering to use it! That’s where initiating cues come in. Determine a particular situation that is conducive to mindful walking, and get into the habit of enacting this exercise every time you find yourself in it. For instance, your walk to and from your desk and the bathroom. You might want to write a reminder on a piece of paper and stick it up near your computer, or set yourself some phone reminders for the first few days to help remind you to use your cue. As classical conditioning (think Pavlov’s dogs) would have it, eventually, just the feeling of a full bladder will trigger a reminder to practice mindful walking on the way to the bathroom. And your mind will soon thank you for it’s frequent stress relief doses throughout the day.