There are many ways to start your day on the right foot. I have many rituals, so-to-speak, that I do each morning help me get ready to have a wonderful day.
One of the things that I do regularly is take a morning walk. I must confess that I have a dog, Piper, and because I need to take her outside in the morning, it is easier to keep this morning habit. If you don’t have a dog, maybe you could meet a friend. However, what I like most about my walk is the quiet time I have with myself (and my dog, of course)!
The first thing I notice when I head outdoors is the sense of peace and calm. It doesn’t matter if it is cold, windy, rainy, or hot. I get to be alone with my thoughts. This “alone” time is essential for me. It is where I get to show up for myself. Most of us have such busy lives that we don’t make time for quiet time. A morning walk lets you experience this peaceful time before you get too busy in other tasks.
A morning walk is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Being mindful is about living in the moment you are presently experiencing. In other words, if you are walking, then you are walking with your mind on walking. It is not the time to talk on the phone or scroll emails or social media. Just be present with walking. Notice the sounds you hear like the crunching of leaves under your feet. What kind of things do you see? Or hear? The more you notice your surroundings, the more mindful you are being.
Doctors recommend a thirty minute walk every day, rain or shine. A morning walk is a healthy habit to develop. You can make it a vigorous walk to burn extra calories or a casual walk to enjoy nature. Either way, by walking in the morning you are doing something healthy for your body.
A morning walk can also be meditative. Many apps are available that guide you through a meditation while you are walking. You can focus on your breathing for part of the walk. This will help to clear your mind. Another way to use the walk as a meditation is to think of one thing, maybe a question, a quote, or an affirmation. Then only think about this one thing while you walk for a certain amount of time.
Here is an example of one way to take your walk.
Start with the first five minutes, noticing the sights, sounds, smells around you. Are you holding something? How do you feel? How does your body feel?
The next twenty minutes, focus on breathing and clear your head of other thoughts. When you catch yourself thinking, just release it. Say to yourself, “I don’t need to think about that right now.” To keep your attention on your breathing, you can count. Inhale - one, exhale - two, inhale - three, exhale - four, etc. up to ten. When you reach ten, start over. If you get tired of counting, you can listen to the sound of your feet. The idea here is to keep your mind clear and stay in the present, focusing on your walk.
The last five minutes, notice your surroundings again. How do you feel? What are your senses telling you? Enjoy this calm and quiet.
Walking in the morning does not have to be complicated. There are no rules for taking a morning walk. You do not have to DO anything. Just walk. Just breath. Just enjoy the time.
Featured photo by Adrien Tutin on Unsplash.