Walking is guaranteed to lower your stress level! If you connect the physical act of walking, with being out in nature, you get even more of a positive impact. Almost all of the pictures you see on this blog are photos of nature. That’s intentionally done, because I’m hoping to entice you to get out and go for a walk, to experience the beauty all around you.
This photo, for instance, is one that I took this morning, when I went out for a neighborhood stroll. You don’t have to live near the beach, or be able to walk through a majestic forest. There is beauty everywhere! You just need to go outside to find it.
I naturally tend to be a couch potato. If I give in to that tendency, I find myself spending way too much time sitting. Before long, I start developing more aches and pains. I gain weight. I begin to not feel as well physically. And…life just seems to be more stressful!
The work I do as a Santa Barbara therapist is sedentary. It does not easily lend itself to an abundance of activity. I sit for a big part of the day with clients at my downtown office. In addition, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my computer, or doing paperwork at my desk.
If I want to feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally, I need to get outside and start moving! When I do, I realize very quickly that I am more energized and, at the same time, more relaxed. My joints start to move more easily and smoothly as I walk along. If there’s something that I’ve been trying to figure out, my mind starts to unwind and come up with just the thoughts I need. Instead of focusing on problems, it almost magically turns toward possibilities.
The aerobic act of walking releases natural endorphins, our feel-good chemicals. Whatever has been bothering us, winds up not seeming so difficult. Instead of ruminating on problematic issues, our tension eases, and we instead begin to notice what’s around us. We hear bird singing and bees buzzing. We see butterflies, flowers and trees. We feel the warmth of the sun, or the coolness of the breeze. After a brisk walk, we return home refreshed and relaxed. Our minds are calmed by the whole experience.
Even if you have tried many times before to become more active, and for whatever reason gave it up, please give it another try. You have so much to gain! The only things you’ll lose are the things that could potentially cause you stress and poor health. Start small, so that you’ll feel successful. As time goes by, slowly add more distance or time to your walking. Celebrate your successes, and have patience when you temporarily fall back into old habits. Your mind, body, and psyche will thank you for your efforts!
Until next time,