The Coping Kete

No. 121: Mindfulness Walks

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

… I will practice using mindfulness walks to shift my mood. I will start by scheduling in at least ten minutes to go for a walk outside everyday. While I walk I will focus my attention on the current moment, in which I am walking and looking around me and really noticing what is there. I will also notice myself and how my body feels to be moving around in the world. When I notice thoughts about the day returning to my mind, I will observe my thoughts briefly and then come back to being aware of my current environment and what is around me.

Across the week, I might experiment with walking in different places. The environment I walk in might change the way I respond. For example, walking in the city streets might connect me with the bustle of people living their lives and walking in the park might connect me with nature. This week I will try to be aware of how different environments effect me. I will then be able to use this information to make sure I give myself time in the environments that soothe and calm me on a regular basis.

Once I am comfortable going for a walk and tuning into my surroundings on a regular basis, I will add ‘Go For a Mindfulness Walk’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for dealing with stress and distress. When I notice I am feeling distressed, I will be able to use the strategy to shift myself out of the distressing moment for a little while and possibly return with a fresh perspective.

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Acknowledgement: Mindfulness can be traced back to buddhist philosophy. Thich Naht Hanh is known for creating the Engaged Buddhism movement  and popularising mindfulness in the Western world. Jon Kabbat-Zinn is known for popularising mindfulness in the medical community with the Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) programme at the University of Massachusetts. Marsha Linehan is known for popularising mindfulness in the mental health community with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).  The basic practice of mindfulness features in many strategies shared in The Coping Kete. Once you learn the basic skills, you can use mindfulness in any moment you find yourself in, in countless different ways. There is an awful lot behind each of the skills involved. Follow the links above to learn more. 

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