Getting Extra Mileage Out of Walking the Dogs

Like many others, I need to walk my dogs every day. They look forward to it much more than I do most of the time. Usually when I walk the dogs I’m walking them and thinking what I’m going to be doing when I’m finished. That voice in my head (just to clarify – it is my voice so I’m not “hearing voices”) is in the form of background chatter. Usually I’m not really “there” – at least not my conscious presence. It’s like when you are dreaming and you are not aware that you are dreaming – the chatter in your head often happens to you and is not really the result of conscious effort.
As I have been working on mindfulness and trying to be more present – be here when I’m here and there when I’m there – I decided to practice this on my nightly dog walks. So, instead of letting my mind start churning, I breath slowly and notice details about the world around me – the wind in my face, the ground beneath my feet, the stars in the night sky, the moon peaking behind the clouds, and so on. I find these tremendously relaxing and a good way to ensure that I have a meditation time daily – merely from being present while walking my dogs. I think that even my dogs can tell that I’m more at peace.
Try to find something that you do every day and make a point of trying to be fully present during those times. Thus, those times become an opportunity to practice mindfulness. As you practice, you will get better at it. You will notice that you can tune into the moment and tune out the current of your thoughts. Being present will improve your well-being and help you feel more grounded in your daily life – and not as vulnerable to the currents of your thoughts.

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