What if a simple walk could change your whole outlook on the world?
I just finished listening to Kristin Neff’s book, Self-Compassion. In it, she described an idea that sparked my interest – taking a pleasure walk.
Here’s a snippet from a document on Neff’s web site describing the idea:
The goal of the walk is to notice as many pleasurable things as possible, slowly, one after another. Use all your senses—sight, smell, sound, touch…maybe even taste.
How many happy, beautiful, or inspiring things can you notice while you’re walking? Do you enjoy the fresh air, the warm sun, a beautiful leaf, the shape of a stone, a smiling face, the song of a bird, the feeling of the earth under your feet?
She encourages us to dive into noticing with gusto.
I few weeks ago I wrote about a gratitude-based mindfulness experiment. Taking a pleasure walk is another great way to aim your attention and focus on the positive.
It’s not about a syrupy attempt to make things positive that aren’t. It’s about giving our minds the opportunity to practice noticing what’s good.
On occasion I get into the habit of writing my dreams down first thing in the morning. After a few days of doing that, a funny thing happens. I start remembering more dreams. It’s like my mind realizes that I’m paying attenti0n, so it decides it had better start remembering those dreams.
The same thing happens when you practice noticing what’s good. The more you notice, and the more consistently you notice it, the more you naturally notice what’s good.
And when you naturally notice more of what’s good, guess what that does to your outlook on life?
In a way, it’s like sculpting your perspective. As you add more of the positive, you start to have less room for the negative.
I’m not suggesting that this is a magic-wand, just-add-water approach to a positive attitude. But it’s definitely another tool you can easily put to use to consciously craft your outlook.
The positive is there, whether you choose to notice it or not. Given that, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of it?
So if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for a walk.
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