Mindfulness walking with the National Trust Northern Ireland

Take a moment to enjoy nature on a mindfulness walk

Mindfulness coach Brenda Shankey shares tips on how to introduce mindfulness into your everyday life with a daily mindfulness walk.

It can be challenging to adapt to the challenges of modern day living – long office hours, endless traffic jams, false news and social media, our brains are overloaded and our bodies overworked. So how do you relax and unwind?

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a buzz term used to describe a mental state achieved by focusing on the here and now. By living in the present moment, we forget the regrets of the past or worries of the future and allow our minds to relax, destress and refocus.

One way to do this is to make time for a daily mindfulness walk.

We invited mindfulness coach Brenda Shankey to Rowallane Garden to walk the Mindfulness Menander trail and share her advice on how to use a mindfulness walk to help relieve tension and stress.

‘I am a huge advocate of incorporating mindfulness into our everyday lives, Brenda begins. ‘To be useful mindfulness techniques need to be used in ways that are realistic and achievable and a walk is a great starting point. It’s about adapting the techniques to suit modern day living, and applying them in a consistent way so that they become part of your everyday routine.

Mindfulness walk at Rowallane Garden
Mindfulness walk at Rowallane Garden
Mindfulness walk at Rowallane Garden

‘It’s about allowing yourself some ‘self care’ time to clear your mind of clutter. You can walk mindfully anywhere but try to get out into nature if you can.  Take 10-15 minutes a day to ground yourself in the present moment. Focus on that moment, concentrate on taking slow deep breaths and notice the world around you – the sights, sounds and smells. Your senses are heightened when you relax and breathe. By doing this you also give your body a break from the constant flow of adrenaline that triggers anxiety and stress.’

‘Mindfulness is a learned skill and what you want is for it to become habitual without causing you stress. A daily mindfulness walk will allow you to rest your mind, recharge and prepare yourself emotionally for what lies ahead.’

Mindfulness walking tips:

  • Choose a quiet, peaceful environment where you are free from distractions
  • Take your time, make an effort to slow your pace and notice every step along the way
  • Concentrate on your breathing. Slow deep breaths help to relieve tension and stress
  • Add calming music as this can be therapeutic in itself
  • Use your senses to enjoy the nature around you – the sound of the birds, the smell of the air
  • Focus your mind on where you are now and where you want to go – off load your concerns and visualise your worries floating away