Have you ever been on a nature walk in the morning and didn’t hear the birds singing? At times our lives are so very busy that we miss important things, things that when we are totally and completely tuned in, we don’t miss. One way to start a journey of refocusing with intentionality is taking a gratitude walk. It doesn’t have to be a long journey, but it does need to be one undertaken with openness and intentionality.
A gratitude walk is a way of experiencing the world via your senses and thoughts as you meet it for the first time. It is pretty simple. Go outside and take a walk. Walk slowly, at a comfortable pace, it isn't about the destination for this, it truly is simply about the walking. Pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, and feel as you walk. Take note of where your attention is pulled, what you value, and the thoughts that come to mind. Get in touch with the feelings they elicit.
Extend any connections you make between these thoughts and feelings as you appreciate them. Experiment with your awareness's limitations. Consider what you're missing out on by not seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling. The world is bigger than you and your perception of it. When you think about it, there's another thing to be thankful for. It implies that there is always something fresh to discover.
Where Do You Take Your Walks? And how long will it last?
It's acceptable to take a familiar walk—or venture down a path you've never travelled before. The journey is more important than the destination or even the way. This travel should take no more than 20 minutes, so don't feel compelled to keep checking the time on your phone. When it comes to phones, it's best to leave them at home, if at all possible. Sure, we're grateful for them, but they do have a tendency to draw our attention away from the rest of the world.
Investigate the Previously Unrecognized
You've looked into what you're not aware of. Now look for things you've never noticed before. You've probably seen these trees a thousand times, but do you know what kind they are? Are you unsure? Make a mental note of their characteristics and set a reminder to find out more. Glance down where you normally look up. Take the turn at the corner where you always pass.
It's one thing to be thankful for life's blessings, the things we desire, work for, and obtain. But it's equally possible, and life-changing, to be grateful for the unexpected gifts we didn't ask for or expect. And for all of the delays and obstacles that appear to be getting in the way. It's possible that the travel is a metaphor for something.
Impacts of Gratitude walk:
Gratitude walk gives you powerful emotion. It not only feels wonderful in the moment, but it can also motivate you to achieve things. Perhaps to repay your debt of appreciation, to take action in the direction of additional things to be grateful for, or simply to have a healthier and happier day today.
- Stronger immune systems
- Less bothered by aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Exercise more and take better care of their health
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More alert, alive, and awake
- More joy and pleasure
- More optimism and happiness
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate
- More forgiving
- More outgoing
- Feel less lonely and isolated.
Do you think you'll be up to trying a gratitude walk? You can do them with a friend, or like me alone pretending you're on the phone! haha