Since leaving London and moving to the countryside, almost five years ago now (where has the time gone?), I began walking everyday for exercise. We moved to such a scenic part of the world that it would be a crime not to get out and walk.
I walk with my husband and even now, five years later, we still remark on how lucky we are to have stumbled on this area and are constantly comparing these lovely walks to our walks in London; rattling double decker buses and lots of slow traffic polluting our lungs. It was exercise but I’m pretty sure that walking along tree lined roads that look out over fields and hills and even more trees has probably added years to our lives.
Walking has lots of health benefits but last year, when I was having rehabilitation therapy after a throat problem, the therapist spoke to me about mindfulness and stress levels. Admittedly, I have never been good at dealing with stress. It’s not that I walk around saying woe is me but I do have a very active mind that becomes awfully noisy as it tries to reason out my life situations, my cares, my worries and concerns. We all have them and I guess I’m not as good as coping with stress as others. Trying to cope with stress has led me down many paths; yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, to name a few but my stress levels still affect my moods and my sleep patterns are erratic to say the least.
The therapist told me that lowering my stress levels would help my throat heal. Seemed weird but I was willing to consider it. Without going into the medical side of my throat problems, she told me to try meditation and mindfulness as a I walk. The idea was to focus on breath and then begin to observe my surroundings. I was to try to look at the scenes around me in a different way. I really had to see the trees, see the flowers, see the blades of grass and allow thoughts that are kept me from focussing on my breath float away. It is so difficult to keep up for a long period but, I figured, that all the minutes I did manage to be mindful would add up and thus the amount of time I’m in a state of stress will reduce too. That has to be good – right?
I know that when I’m in a mindful state, when I’m calm and relaxed, I can be at my most creative. I’ve been working on mindfulness a lot lately and found that I’m flowing with creative ideas. I’m writing a lot, reading more and practising piano and guitar, the latter being two things I’ve always wanted to do but have always put off. Probably stressing about the time these things take up in my day.
I’d been wanting to move out to the country for several years before we actually made the move and it’s here that I’m my most creative and most able to practice being mindful. And it is a practice so don't give up on yourself if you try this and it doesn't seem to be doing anything at first. You will get better and it does work. It’s been a wonderful cycle of the countryside allowing me to be better able to practice mindfulness and mindfulness increasing my ability to be more creative. I hope it works for you.
I’ve linked below to websites I’ve found useful when it comes to walking and mindfulness. I'm not sponsored by any of the following they were simply articles of interest I found online. Hope you enjoy reading them!