The Greeks believed that all great insights came from nine muses, divine sisters who brought inspiration to mere mortals. Today, we know that "aha moments" are more than just sudden mystical bursts of inspiration.
These creative thoughts are marked by a surge of electrical activity in the brain and can be fostered by specific conditions. One of the most interesting ways to encourage them is by walking mindfully.
When you're walking mindfully, your attention can wander freely. And because you don't have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, you can get into a mindful mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight.
Additionally, mindful walking is an excellent way to clear your mind of clutter and get in touch with the present moment. It's also a way to practice moving without a goal or intention and by mastering this you can avoid the "distracted autopilot mode" and bring more awareness and creativity into your everyday life.
We take a look at the different techniques you can use for mindful walking later on in the article. We’ve focused on walking meditation, body awareness, and observational techniques but there are others out there you can look into that may work for you!
Try to experiment with different exercises and find the one that suits you perfectly. The best results come when you enjoy the process.
Getting Back to The Present Moment: What Happens To Your Body When You Walk
Your brain uses about 20% of your body's total oxygen supply, so if you're not getting enough oxygen up there, it's easy to feel "foggy" or unfocused.
When you walk, your heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen to your brain. That's why after or during exercise, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. And just like all forms of exercise, walking encourages your brain to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators.
You know that relaxed and optimistic feeling you get after a long, mindful walk? You can thank endorphins for that. But it's not just the good mood that makes walking beneficial.
Walking Meditation: Basic Tips
When you are walking mindfully, the journey becomes less about the destination and more about awareness of what is around you and how you feel. Your goal should be to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
Try following these tips: