Finding ways to manage stress is the key to a happier life. People often recommend meditation for this, but it’s not for everybody. If you struggle to concentrate on meditation or you just don’t find it that useful, you should look for alternatives.
Walking meditation is a brilliant way to beat stress. You get the benefits of meditation but in a more relaxed setting. Walking also has a lot of health benefits too, so combining the two is an excellent way to boost your physical and mental health at the same time. Follow these steps for the perfect walking meditation to beat stress.
Before you start walking, make sure you are comfortable. If you don’t have comfortable shoes and clothing, you will be distracted during your walking meditation and you won’t benefit from it as much. Look for shoes like Skechers that offer plenty of support for walking and make you feel light on your feet. Wear loose-fitting, cool clothes in the summer and dress up in plenty of layers in the winter. Now that you are comfortable, you are ready to start your first walking meditation.
Leave Your Phone At Home
Removing distractions is important in any kind of meditation. The whole idea is to remove the constant stimulation of modern life and focus on the present moment. That is much harder to do if you have your phone on you. Notifications from your phone will break your concentration and stop you from being present, so leave it at home. It’s important for everybody to develop a healthy relationship with technology and social media these days. Think of your walking meditation as an opportunity to get away from social media for a while and clear your head.
When you begin your walking meditation, you need to find a comfortable pace. Choose a time when you don’t have any other responsibilities to worry about so you won’t be rushed. If you are concerned about getting back home quickly, you won’t give your full attention to the meditation. Start at a moderate pace that feels comfortable to you. Most people choose a slow pace so they can take in their surroundings, but a fast-paced walk can be just as effective. The crucial thing is to keep the pace consistent so you are not focused on speeding up and slowing down.
As you walk, pay attention to the sensations in your body. Feel your feet hitting the ground and your arms moving by your side. When thoughts start entering your mind, shift your attention back to the sensation of walking.
Focus On Your Breath
Deliberate, focused breathing is a key element of meditation. As you walk, you should focus on your breath and keep it regular. For example, take a deep breath in for two steps, and then exhale for three steps. When you focus on your breath and keep it in time with your steps, you will start entering a meditative state.
When thoughts enter your mind, gradually shift your attention back to walking and breathing. The important thing here is that you don’t try to force it. Instead, let the thoughts pass without latching onto them. The more you practice, the easier will be to maintain focus and clear your head.
If you find it hard to focus, listening to music can help. Choose relaxing music without lyrics so it doesn’t become too distracting. This will help you practice focusing on what is happening right now instead of your thoughts. As your practice improves, you can stop listening to music and focus on your breath instead.
Make It A Habit
Don’t get too caught up with how long each session is. Even if you only do walking meditation for five minutes, it still benefits you. The most important thing is to make it a habit. So, it’s better to do it three times a week for five minutes than it is to do one long session of half an hour. Meditation does help you feel more relaxed in the short-term, but the biggest benefit is the overall change it brings. When you learn to be present and let thoughts pass without fixating on them, this mindset carries over into your everyday life. If you can make it a habit, you will soon notice that you feel more relaxed all of the time. It is particularly effective for people that suffer from serious anxiety problems.
Walking meditation is an excellent way to beat stress and anxiety. Follow these simple steps and you will notice a huge difference.