At its simplest, mindfulness is the practice of experiencing the present moment more fully. Many people (and significant research) attests to the mental health benefits for individuals – reducing anxiety, stress and feelings of overwhelm. Your walk with your dog is already good for you both, but can now be even better for you when you incorporate mindfulness techniques into the walk.
Meditation, deep breathing, yoga and many other techniques are all useful to help be more mindful. However, mindfulness can be simpler than that.
If you’ve dabbled in any mindfulness techniques before you know it can be hard to remember to make time to stick with the practice. On Monday and maybe Tuesday you’ve managed to get a mindfulness session in – but as the week runs away from you, it’s difficult to remember to keep it up.
As a dog owner, it’s a fair bet that you’re walking your dog each day, and this can be the perfect time to practice being more mindful. Paying more attention to your surroundings (and not your phone), and tuning into the experiences of the world around you are all ways to be mindful while walking the dog.
You already have the perfect teacher to help you get into the mindful mindset too. Dogs are innately attuned to the world around them. Sniffing, listening and watching everything that’s going on. Mindfulness doesn’t mean emptying your mind of all thoughts. Focussing on what’s in front of you and what’s happening in the moment count as mindfulness.
Think of this as a walking meditation that doesn’t require any special skills – just patience and practice. Check out the full list of helpful suggestions at The Bark for ways to get the most from your mindfulness walk with your dog.