Today, I want to take some time to talk about my number one favorite method of practicing mindfulness. If you find yourself struggling with stress and long-term depression, then this post might be just for you.
As the saying goes “There is nothing that can’t be cured with some exercise and fresh air.” If done correctly, combining walking with a mindset of gratitude can have incredible healing effects.
Taking a gratitude walk does more than just heal; it also opens your mind to receive signals and ideas that are only able to come to you when you are in a state of receptiveness. So, let me answer the question: What is a gratitude walk? And I believe this will be helpful for you on your journey towards a meaningful and happy life.
What is a gratitude walk?
A gratitude walk is simply you taking a walk, preferably in an outdoor setting, and immersing yourself in the simple act of walking. You temporarily forget about the problems in your life and focus solely on yourself and the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh -a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, and author, and a strong advocate for the practice of gratitude once said:
“A gratitude walk is a way to connect with the present moment and appreciate the good things in our lives. As we walk, we can focus on our breath and the sensations of our body moving. We can also bring our attention to the things we are grateful for.
This could be anything from the beauty of nature to the love of our family and friends. Gratitude walks are a simple yet powerful way to cultivate happiness and well-being.”
When come to gratitude walk, I always find Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings resonate with me the most.
Another example of a person you may know about is Bill Gate. Bill Gates has spoken about the significance of taking walks to stimulate his creativity and generate new ideas. He finds that going for walks helps him clear his mind, refresh his perspective, and ignite his thought process.
By stepping away from his work environment and immersing himself in nature or the surrounding city, he believes that he can tap into a different mental state that fosters creativity and problem-solving. Taking walks allows him to detach from the daily pressures and distractions, providing him with the mental space to reflect, brainstorm, and generate innovative ideas.
So I hope that you will give gratitude walk a try!
How can you start to do gratitude walk:
After answering the question of What is a gratitude walk? we should focus on how we can do gratitude walk. Everyone is different, and you might want to adjust the general routine following to suit your needs and preferences.
My suggestions to do gratitude walk
Find a suitable location
Choose a place that allows you to connect with nature or simply offers a peaceful environment. It could be a park, a beach, a forest trail, or any other place where you feel comfortable and can enjoy the surroundings.
It’s best to change your walking route once in a while. It’s not even necessary to choose a nature setting. I believe walking on a city’s sidewalk has its own charms. So, depending on your preferences or even your moods each day, simply listen to your gut feelings and follow them.
Begin the walk mindfully
Start walking at a comfortable pace, paying attention to your breath and the sensations in your body. Allow yourself to relax and be present in the moment.
One tip from me is to always dress well and comfortably. When you are in your best state, you find it more enjoyable to appreciate the view and people around you. So, put on something that makes you feel confident, style your hair the way you want, and even put on some makeup if it makes you feel better.
As you walk, direct your focus outward and begin to notice the things you are grateful for. It could be the beauty of nature, the warmth of the sunlight, the sound of birds singing, or anything that catches your attention. Take a moment to appreciate and express gratitude for each of these things.
Living in a bustling city, I would often take walks around my block. Even though I followed the familiar route I usually took to work, I found myself continuously awestruck by how the once-familiar places transformed into something entirely different and beautiful at night. It was like a whole new world unfolded before me, with different sights and an exciting vibe.
And maybe it’s because I wasn’t heading to work, I always felt different and noticed new things when I walked through the city at night
Engage your senses
Engage all your senses during the walk. Notice the colors, textures, and scents around you. Listen to the sounds of nature or the cityscape. Feel the ground beneath your feet and the air against your skin. By fully immersing yourself in the present moment, you deepen your gratitude experience.
Reflect on your blessings
It wouldn’t be a gratitude walk if you don’t take a few moment to refect on so many things to be grateful in your life.
Take periodic breaks during your walk to reflect on the blessings and positive aspects of your life. Consider the relationships, opportunities, achievements, or moments of joy that you are thankful for. Allow yourself to fully appreciate and savor these experiences.
I cherish this time to count my blessings, whether they are the blessings I have in my life or the blessings I have received today. It’s a moment of gratitude where I reflect on all the positive things and fortunate circumstances that surround me.
“Gratitude walks can help us to connect with
our inner peace and happiness.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
What does science say about gratitude walks?
What is a gratitude walk? and what benefits it bring you? This section will help you answer these questions.
Gratitude walks can help to reduce stress and anxiety by helping us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. This can be especially helpful in times of stress or difficulty.
Gratitude walks can help to improve mood by increasing positive emotions and decreasing negative emotions.
By practicing gratitude during walks, we develop an appreciation for our own strengths and accomplishments. This newfound perspective enhances our self-esteem and nurtures a positive self-image.
Gratitude walks can help to increase happiness by helping us to focus on the good things in our lives. This can lead to a more positive and optimistic outlook on life.
Engaging in gratitude walks helps alleviate stress and anxiety, which can contribute to better sleep. By reducing the burdens of the day and cultivating a sense of gratitude, we can experience more restful and rejuvenating nights.
In addition to these mental and emotional benefits, gratitude walks can also have some physical benefits. These include reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, boosted immune system.
So I hope my post have helped you answer the question of What is a gratitude walk? Now, it’s time to embrace this simple yet powerful technique. Whether you choose to incorporate it into your daily routine or whenever you find yourself overwhelmed, remember that taking a walk with gratitude as your companion can serve as a potent remedy for your mental health.