The benefits of mindful walking

Meditation on the move

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Mindful walking is a Taoist moving meditation which stills your inner compass and lowers brain waves so your thoughts slow down, you feel more relaxed and clear headed. When we are in a highly emotional state we become less able to think clearly as we are functioning from the ancient reptilian part of our brains, our nerve cells are inflamed and walking helps to distract us and activate other areas of our brain.  Walking meditations are a real favourite of mine because they are done on the move and often quite an easy way to meditate. Walking is also beneficial for our health and any time spent in nature or the outdoors raises our vibrational energy which keeps our immune system healthy.

If you are searching for an answer, try this exercise below which frees a part of the mind that we are using less and less. Companies are now hosting walking meetings and encouraging employees to take part in mindful walking during break times.

If you are taking part in mindful walking as a group I would suggest walking in silence and discussing at the end of the fifteen minutes.

Mindful walking exercise (15 minutes)

This can be listened to on my website

  • As you are walking, pay attention to things with childlike curiosity as if you were noticing them for the first time
  • When you are ready, move onto observing your thoughts – don’t block or reject them
  • Now spend some time rhythmically breathing and stepping
  • Breathe in for three steps and out for four steps (adjust as needed)
  • When you are ready, listen to the sounds around you for a few minutes
  • Now, move onto paying attention to any smells, really use your sense of smell
  • Continue walking noticing the things you are drawn to
  • Finally stop and take a break and stand still for two minutes and notice how you feel

A meditation is anything that engages the senses and in doing so we disengage from thoughts to give our brain a well-deserved rest. During meditation our bodies produce the feel-good chemicals, endorphins and serotonin, which are essential to our well-being. It reduces stress and anxiety by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system inducing relaxation and clarity.

Meditation in any form helps me find the calmness within, regardless of what is going on around me and a fifteen minute mindful walk re-charges my energy.

This is adapted from my book The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from stress and anxiety.

Love and light






Gail Donnan

Interdisciplinary Psychologist, Trauma-informed EMDR Psychotherapist, Director and Practice Lead, The Trauma Centre - Ripon

I have been working in the wellness industry since 1995. I have a Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Psychology (Leeds), I am a trauma-informed EMDR psychotherapist, Director and Practice Lead of the Trauma Centre, Ripon which is a community interest company.  I am a qualified teacher, assessor and IQA. I am a trained Meditation Teacher, Bach Flower Essence Practitioner, Qi Gong Instructor and Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner.  I specialise in mental health issues arising from trauma, anxiety, depression and am the published author of two books -"The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from Stress and Anxiety" and The Gateway Junior Edition - children's mental health. I have a huge interest in somatic psychotherapy and have an interdisciplinary approach to mental health.