Well-Being with Whitney: Walking and Thinking – Peace

Need some more peace in your life? Take a walk.

Walking promotes a sense of peace by relaxing your mind. A Princeton University research study found that exercise such as walking reorganizes brain neurons, helping people relieve stress and anxiety so they can experience more peace.

When you walk, your mind’s attention centers on basic, fundamental focuses: simply putting one foot in front of the other and noticing what’s around you. You’re not as concerned with what you’re doing as much as you are with just being. That’s why walking promotes mindfulness, which in turn promotes peace.

If I have a disagreement with someone, I’ll replay the conversation afterward in my mind, trying to figure out different possible meanings of what the other person said and wondering if I had said what I should have or not. If my mind starts spiraling into stress, I’ll try to take a walk. Walking quiets my mind and gives me a clearer perspective on any situation that had been making me feel anxious.

Usually when I take a walk specifically to relieve stress, I’ll meditate on, or pray about, that intention as well. Then the peace I experience deepens to become especially strong. As I take each step on a walk, I let go of my worries. Step by step, I transfer the energy of my thoughts from negative (worry) to positive (trust in God). Walking enriches the process by giving me a foundation of relaxation on which to build.

How has walking helped you experience peace in your own life? What stressful situations are you going through right now that you could think about more clearly on a walk? How could that clearer perspective give you the peace of mind you need to navigate those situations well?

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