I have come to deeply appreciate walking as a form of therapy.
To find out why, I urge you to read the following paragraphs till the end.
Pepper Giardino says that “walking is good for solving problems—it’s like the feet are little psychiatrists”.
When I cannot figure out how to solve issues related to family, socialising, diversity in my community, countries at war, home schooling, my gym membership, my faith, my children and the widening gap in academic achievement or issues related to the current mental health crisis. I often go for a walk to try and figure out what to do.
How it works
When I am out walking the fresh air, the rolling hills, the greenery including muddy paths provide me with the perfect space to walk my thoughts through. This space allows me to sift through unhelpful thoughts related to the issues stated above in paragraph one. With each that I take, I sift through different issues by thinking quietly or by talking to myself. The outdoor space and fresh air help me to do this in a much more conscientious and objective manner. Within twenty minutes of walking, I notice that I begin to sort out real from hypothetical issues. I begin to move slowly from my circle of concern, through my circle of influence to my circle of control where I can make changes. Once in my circle of control I can notice ideas on how to solve some of the issues coming through my thoughts. When the issues are beyond my circle of control and I cannot do anything about them, I work out ways to accept or forget them, sometimes for a little while through healthy distractions from the space around me.
Simply absorbing the beauty of the gorgeous scenery, the sight of rolling hills, beautiful trees, animals grazing, quiet streams, birds chirping, and amazing sunset takes my mind away from worries. I immerse myself in the glory of natural beauty and do amazing things like talking to animals. Once I stopped at the top of a hill for a little rest and I found myself talking to a cow. The cow I later named Chaser start strutting towards me in a noticeably confident and aggressive manner. In response I froze and yelled STOP!!! at the cow (Chaser) to deescalate the situation. Strangely the cow (Chaser) stopped. I walked away very slowly. When I got to a distance where I felt safe enough, I turned round and saw Chaser standing at the very spot where I had stopped for a little rest. This made me chuckle!
Photography and dancing in the rain
Taking photos of breath-taking trees, beautiful sunset or snow-covered hills help to distract me from nagging worries. Once I even named one of the beautiful trees ‘the bump tree’! On one of the rainy days during a walk with my friend we found ourselves enjoying the cool showery breeze whilst singing to the tune of “dancing in the rain”!
Depending on the weather, healthy distractions to worrying can take different forms.
I am lucky to have a friend who is committed to walking. I find walking alone useful for self-reflection but having a walking friend is great in many ways. During our walks we get to bounce ideas off each other about the world, faith, family, work, relationships, and childhood experiences from back home.
We feel safe to explore new routes in the countryside or around town. Some days we get coffees and sit for a chat or do window shopping. There are times when we give into the temptation of picking-up groceries on the way back from our walk.
Benefits of walking.
I find that walking can help with stress management, low mood, and problem solving. Walking can also help with weight loss; I am always excited to find out the amount of number of calories burnt at the end of walk from my walking ap.
I ensure that my phone is fully charged, and I ensure that the location on my phone is activated before I leave the house. I also have important phone numbers at hand in case of crisis. I also ensure that my partner and children can cope until my return.
Depending On the weather dress appropriately, drink enough water.
Time to get walking. It is free, no contracts, no payments.