Five tips to get the most mental benefit from your social distancing walks

The whole world seems to be going through a difficult time right now, as this pandemic continues on. And, the one thing we still have the ability to do, even while social distancing, is to get outdoors and go on walks. But there is a way to walk that can be even more beneficial when you become present. When times are challenging, use your walk to step away from the weight of the world and step into grace. Rather than creating mental and physical strain, stop yourself and close your eyes. Connect with your heart. Connect with your breath as it flows gently through your body. Once you are feeling more settled and calm, connect to your source and feel the visit. With a sense of peace in your body and mind, step outside and give yourself the gift of a graceful walk.

On your next walk, to get the most mental benefit, try these five simple guidelines for taking a walk that will fill your heart with grace along the way: 

1. Simplify: Let go of the complicated thoughts holding onto all of the information that has suddenly flooded our way. Empty your mind as if you just let the all of the air out of a balloon. Now look out at the natural world and allow the simple beauty into your fresh, pure, and simple thoughts. Feel the present ease and subtle sense of joy.

2 Surrender: Give in to the gentle power of nature, let go and hand yourself over to the beauty and renewing calm that carries on despite any and all challenges that are circulating in the world. In the natural world, a new season always arrives and the flowers will always bloom and bring their beauty forth despite the storm. 

3 Soften: Our heart is the center of our emotions. When our hearts are hard with fear we become closed off. Our intuitive heart is how we receive the most valuable wisdom and calm. As you breathe in the fresh air outdoors, feel your heart open. Soften around your beating heart by breathing in love for yourself, knowing that your exhale brings calm, blessings and love for the world.

4 Senses: Awaken your senses by looking at things out in nature that you previously passed by without a glance. The more you look, the more you will see. As the beauty of nature attracts your attention, notice how the space you’re holding begins to mellow. Slow down and listen to the sounds around you; hear the bird up in the tree, it’s speaking to you, hear the wind as if for the first time. Listen. Close your eyes.  Listen and breathe in the smell of the flowers or the air after a refreshing rainfall. Touch and feel the softness of a flower petal, the veins of a leaf or the rugged bark of a tree. These simple yet intentional acts will enliven your senses and transport you back to yourself and into the present moment. 

5 Sky: Follow the clouds and the changing sky, and notice as your mind begins to float as easefully and softly as the clouds and the wind. Take the grace that nature has bestowed upon you and carry it in your softened heart. Know and feel your newfound ease and let it become your second nature.

Step back and allow this time to take its course, and in your surrender, witness yourself learning, changing and growing. Stay well in your heart and in your mind.

Julianne Haycox is the author of the new memoir Conversations with Grace, a book of inspiration and personal growth. For more, visit www.juliannehaycox.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

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