I mentioned a few posts ago that when I was 14 my parents moved from California to Idaho. I failed to mention that when I was 16 we had to move back to California, only a town over. At this point I was in the height of my teen years (read that as angst) and I was actually fairly comfortable in Idaho and had started making friends and enjoying my surroundings. I had finally convinced myself that Idaho was better than California . But we still had to move. Not only that but instead of moving into a house we moved into an apartment for 3 months while our house was being built. Cue Simple Plan.
What I failed to realize in my misunderstood teen melodrama was that it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I could have made the situation better if I’d only tried. And that’s where going outside + going for a walk come in.
Benefits of going outside:
My favorite question in the world is why. Why do we do what we do. I like to ask this question because I think it reveals a lot about intent. So, why go outside? Not to be too poetic, but outside really can be a metaphor for our own lives. When we are constantly inside we tend to revolve around our problems. That’s where our world is and so how can we think of anything else? When we go outside and truly look around, it gives us a chance to recognize that there is so much more going on in the world than our own problems. It helps us recognize that we are only a very small part of a very large plan and that our daily life stresses will eventually go away. Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: it gives us perspective. And I don’t know about you but when I gain perspective I feel a whole lot better about life. I tend to breather a little easier and I truly think my stress levels recede.
Benefits of going for a walk:
Going for a walk gives you all the benefits of going outside PLUS it gives you exercise. And as we all know, exercise gives us endorphins– which is a fun set of happiness producing brain chemicals that have been found to reduce depression and stress. In my experience when I go for a walk whether I’m stressed, nervous or even apathetic I always end up feeling more at peace and more relaxed when I get home. It’s a fun and free time to daydream, pray, or meditate. It can even be a good time to figure out solutions to complex problems.
When I say “go outside” I don’t necessarily mean “go retreat to the woods”, though that is always refreshing. I mean take five minutes during your work break that you should be getting or the break in between your classes and look around you. Look at the grass, trees, flowers, strangers on the sidewalk, sky, etc. Hear the birds chirping, the leaf blower blowing or the train speeding by. Just be present and breathe the not office/classroom air.
And when I say go for a walk, it doesn’t have to be a mile. It can be around your office building, to the grocery store or even just slowing down to a saunter to get to your next class. Use your legs and enjoy your moment.