Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Mini-Mindfulness Challenge: Mindful Walking

Mind-Mindfulness Challenge

Welcome to Week 4 and the conclusion of the Mini-Mindfulness Challenge.  I’m so glad you’re here!

The Mini-Mindfulness Challenge offers a simple prompt each week to help you remember to be present in the moment and in so doing find better health and more ease.  If you missed Week 1 – 3, here they are:

This week we’ll explore walking mindfully.  I won’t bemoan the dangers of a sedentary life style.  But it’s shocking to consider that a sedentary lifestyle – one with little or no physical activity – can contribute to many preventable causes of death.

Let’s not go there!

Mini-Mindfulness Challenge – Week 4:  Mindful Walking

This week’s mini-mindfulness challenge will help you get out of your head and back into your body.  It’s easy!

Use walking as a trigger to come back to the present moment and inhabit your body.  When you begin to walk, bring your mind home and be aware of each movement or of your body as a whole.  If it helps, you can slow down your pace at first.  But, you don’t have to exaggerate your movements or walk in extreme slow motion.

Here’s one example.  Let’s say you’re walking from an office building to your car in the parking lot.  Often we lead with our chin and our head, and the 100,000 thoughts we have about what just happened or what’s next.  Slow down your pace, drop the thoughts and become aware that you’re walking.  Then be aware of the sensation of each movement or the experience of your body as a whole.  Simply be present completely with each step.  There’s no need to look at your feet. 

  • Feel your foot as it meets the pavement.
  • Feel the sensation of your shoe against your foot.
  • Does your foot feel hot, sweaty, cramped, cool, relaxed?
  • Feel the pressure of your shoulder bag.
  • Notice your leg muscles as you alternatively raise each leg to move forward.
  • Experience your body as a whole.
  • Gently notice whatever sensations occurs.

Just be lightly aware of each movement that you make.  Your attention is alert, but relaxed and restful rather than over concentrated.  Let go of any need to analyze or judge.

This isn’t tunnel awareness.  You aren’t oblivious to everything else going on around you.  You can still hear the sounds around you and see the sights in your environment, but you’re aware that you’re walking.  Each time you’re distracted by a thought, emotion, or the environment, just gently bring your mind back to the sensations at hand. 

Mini-Mindfulness Challenge:  Suggested Guidelines

  • Practice the prompt for a full week if possible.  If not, try it out for 4-5 days.
  • Or, alternate the prompts we’ve worked with so far –  smile, worry, water, and walking – using a different one each day.
  • Go at your own pace.  You don’t have to be aware every time you walk.
  • If you forget, that’s okay. Forgetting is a normal part of the process of learning to be mindful.  Just start again as soon as you remember.
  • Never reprimand yourself for forgetting.  Be gentle and encouraging instead.
  • Don’t get stressed!  Approach the exercise with playful curiosity.
  • Each day celebrate your accomplishment to reinforce it.  Even if you walked mindfully once that day, it’s a good start.
  • Keep track of your experience in a journal if you would like, but don’t obsess about getting it “right.”

Simple Tricks to Help You Remember Mindfulness

These simple tricks will help you to remember to be mindful when walking:

  • Write “mindful walking” on a post it-note, and place it in a prominent place where you’ll see it often.
  • Visualize the day ahead and when you’re likely to be walking.  Then make a conscious intention to walk mindfully at those times.
  • Set a timer on your watch, SMART phone, or computer as a reminder to walk mindfully the next time you get up.

If you would like to know more about what mindfulness is and what it’s not, please read my article:  You Can Beat Stress With Mindfulness.

How to Continue with Mindfulness in Daily Life

It’s easy to practice mindfulness during the day if you choose an object and set an intention.  It’s important to remember that mindfulness is not about the object, however.  While it’s been fun to work with enjoyable objects during the Mini-Mindfulness Challenge, you could choose any activity as the focus of your mindfulness, whether you love it or not.  For example:

  • Eating
  • The phone ringing
  • Washing dishes
  • Swimming
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Driving
  • Gardening
  • Starting a new task

Make a plan now for how you would like to continue with the practice of mindfulness in the coming weeks.

  • You could use one or more of the prompts we’ve used during the Mini-Mindfulness Challenge.
  • You could create a list of your own prompts and select a new one to use each week.

The more you practice intentionally, the more mindful you’ll become.  But, remember mix your mindfulness with spaciousness and ease so you don’t become uptight!

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness, consider taking my course:  Living with Ease, 30 Days to Less Stress.  In the course, you’ll learn three key mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques and a range of simple supportive practices.  You’ll also have a chance to dive deeply into the roots of your stress and explore how to heal and transform these.

How did Week 3 of the “Mini-Mindfulness Challenge:  Drink Up!” go for you?  I would love to hear.  

I would also like to know if you found the Mini-Mindfulness Challenge helpful?  Would you like me to offer similar challenges in the future that would focus on different topics other than mindfulness like ease during the holidays or cultivating joy?

Thank you for joining me for the Mini- Mindfulness Challenge.  Wishing you a good week with more smiles, less worry, plenty of water, and mindful walking!

Here’s Week 1 – 3  if you haven’t seen them yet.

Thank you for your presence.  If you have a moment, please help me reach others by sharing this post.  If you’re new, please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love, Sandra

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12 Comments

  1. Mindful walking is one of the basis of many meditation practices. It is interesting how easily we walk on auto pilot. It can be tough to mindfully walk but it is a great way to practice your mindfulness. This is like drinking water, I tend to do this one quite a bit ; ). I will try to focus on being more mindful when I walk. I like the challenges.

    • It’s great to hear you are so acclimated to mindfulness. That’s a true accomplishment. It’s true, we do most things on auto-pilot and that can lead to mistakes, lost time, and less satisfaction. Enjoy your steps this week!

  2. Hey Sandra,

    Enjoyed the course immensely!

    Just on a personal note, I find that mindful walking (and walking meditation) helps a great deal if I’m ever feeling anxious. I think the “activity” of it might be partly responsible.

    • That’s good to know, Daniel. Meditation is about coming to know our own mind. So to know which practice of mindfulness calms anxiety for you is indeed a benefit. Thanks for highlight this.

  3. Hi Sandra! I have to say drinking enough water has made the world of difference to me especially during allergy season. Thanks so much for that reminder. So simple but carries a lot of power!

  4. Jean Sampson

    I have enjoyed the course, Sandra! I walk a lot but usually have some sort of teaching CDs on, such as Wayne Dyer or Caroline Myss. I won’t give that up, but I will walk mindfully when I walk to the studio (usually just ruminate then) and walk home. That will be an interesting experiment and I expect my mind will graze in many different fields for awhile. 🙂

    • Hi Jean,

      That sounds like a wonderful way to listen to inspirational teachings. You could use listening to the CDs as your object of mindfulness as you walk. Enjoy your walks to the studio.

  5. Sandra, thank you for creating and sharing the Mini-Mindfulness Challenge I love the simplicity of implementing the challenge steps. It is a beautiful gift to your readers as well as an invitation to work with you in other ways that you offer on your site.

    Blissings,
    ~ Dena

  6. I really liked your mindful prompts. I wish it wasn’t over. Sometimes all I need is a quick reminder.

    • So happy you enjoyed the prompts, Joanna! I know it’s a little different when you receive a prompt from someone else than just creating your own prompts each week. Good luck with this. I hope you continue in some way.

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