If you are fed up with "mindfulness" try this instead...

If you find sitting still and trying to focus on your breathing frustrating or boring. Please know you are not alone, and there are so many alternatives. Taking a gentle stroll around the block, can be all you need to quickly recharge, gain perspective and reconnect to yourself, your body and your environment. Here are 5 profound benefits…

1.       You don’t have to be meditating to be mindful: Meditation is one strategy, yes, though even moving your body without distractions, or information coming in can really set you up to just witness your environment and surroundings. Try leaving your phone at home and just take a few minutes around the block distraction free.

2.       Awaken your senses: One strategy to sharpen your senses and help to prevent deterioration throughout your lifespan is to keep using them. Spending just a few minutes away from technology and screens and outside looking near, far and into the distance and landscapes has been shown to help eyesight. Get curious, look out for birds, animals, insects, different flowers and even notice the beauty of the sun as it shines at different hours.

3.       Improve your mobility: The difference between walking on a cardio machine in a gym and getting outside is the uneven ground and materials you walk on. Yes, indoor cardio is better than nothing, but all the challenges of navigating your environment actually helps you balance, strengthens all the tendons and ligaments around your muscles and actually improves your strength, core strength and balance.

4.       Vitamin D: It is surprising how many of us are deficient or even just low on Vitamin D, and how paramount this Vitamin is for our overall mood, health and well-being. If you do night shift, you are particularly susceptible. Walking outdoors even for just 10 minutes a day can really add up over the week, the month and the season to keep your levels topped up and prevent the need for testing and supplementation.

5.       Better Sleep: Having exposure to direct sun, particularly on your forehead without sunglasses or a cap is so beneficial to your sleep wake cycles and the production of melatonin of an evening. Taking a short stroll after work or after dinner can also help you to “switch off” and process your day, leaving your mind more still to drift off soundly in the evening.  Also, placing walks at certain times and exposing yourself to direct sunlight helps to adjust from jet lag, or shift work.

 By Amy Benn

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