Wilderness Walks for a Happy Heart
Wilderness walks, filled with wonder, what may we find? A pathway towards a more happy and relaxed mind.
First step: Turn off the tech.
Then, take five big full deep belly breaths.
Close your eyes. Let your other, less dominant, senses energize.
Who can you hear?
What can you smell?
How does the day feel?
Now open your eyes, and let yourself see — the beauty of the trees, the birds and the bees. The vibrant colors and the intricate patterns, the creative forms of expression from all of nature.
As you walk, watch your thoughts. Where do they go? What loops do they follow? Observe, without analysis, then allow them to flow on their way — your aim is to focus on this exact moment, on this exact day.
To focus your mind, and make staying present a bit easier to do, here is a scavenger hunt for you. When you catch yourself walking back in the past or far in the future, say a quick note of gratitude then dart your attention to find:
- Something that’s Red. Let it dislodge all the thoughts in your head.
- Then move on — can you find Orange and Yellow too?
- Next, of course is Green — if you’re outside this is often the easiest to see.
- Followed by Blue, perhaps the sky or the sea or a flower just blossoming.
- And, finally something that’s Violet, or Purple, man-made or natural, it’s up to you.
- Complete the full circle, by once again finding something that’s Red.
Now, the thoughts should all be cleared from your head. What now, do you notice about the wilderness you’re walking through? Where is the sun in the sky? What trees and plants line the paths? Are there birds singing and critters crunching on their mid-day snack?
Wander and wonder, being present by paying attention, to the wildness of the walk — whether deep in the forest or just up and down your very own block.
Author’s Note: This is a great activity for alleviating the pressures of anxiety. It gets your body moving and your mind free from worrying, by consciously choosing to focus on the details of your present surroundings. As an artist, it has helped me energize my creativity, as an author it’s helped me notice more details to put into my writing. And as someone who often feels the weight of worry, it has helped me train my brain to new paths of thinking.