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Ten Tips for Mindful Walking in Nature

Ten Tips for Mindful Walking in Nature

Mindful walking in nature can help to deepen our connections with both the environment and ourselves – and suddenly, a simple stroll becomes a powerful tool in restoring and sustaining your mental fitness. 

Mindful walking in nature is crucial to what we do here at Mind Over Mountains. We could talk all day about the benefits of physical activity combined with mindfulness, and how those benefits are enhanced exponentially when you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature. Fancy trying this out, but not sure where to start? Here are ten tips to get you started.  


1. Location, location, location 

mindful walking in nature We know that climbing a mountain isn’t always practical for everyone. A favorite saying here at Mind Over Mountains is ‘parks, not peaks’. In other words, just being outside with space to walk can be enough. It can be a park, it can be a green space in the centre of the city, it can be a detour on the way back from work or the school run.  

You’re aiming to immerse yourself in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so whatever that looks like for you will work. 

2. Set your intention 

It might seem strange at first, but stick with us. Before you start your mindful walk, take a moment to set your intention first. This could be as simple as just wanting to clear your mind, to shake off the stresses of the day and to enjoy the present moment. It could be to focus your mind, connect with nature and ease rising anxiety. Whatever you need from your walk, use that to set your intention – this helps to focus the mind and gives your walk purpose.  

3. Focus on the breath 

mindful walking in nature

When you focus in on the breath, it’s a lot easier to calm the mind and slow the pace. Start by taking a few deep breaths to centre yourself.  Then as you walk, maintain an awareness of your breathing and notice the rhythm of breaths in and out, perhaps how it starts to sync with your steps. This can really help to anchor your attention. 

When practicing breathing exercises like this, its important to take it slowly - listen to your body, and stop if you start to feel dizzy.  

4. Engage your senses  

When we start to engage the senses, we’re able to become much more aware of the world around us. So as you walk, start to take notice of the nature around you. Listen to the sounds of birds and rustling leaves. Notice how the ground feels beneath your feet, or how the sun feels on your face. Smell the fresh air and the trees and flowers. Even in urban spaces, when we’re walking mindfully, we can tune in to nature.  

 5. Slow your pace 

Racing to the end is the exact opposite of what we want to do when we walk mindfully. Instead, slow your pace and make a conscious effort to walk deliberately. Pay attention to the sensation of each foot as it makes contact with the ground. Focus on the breath, take notice of where your next step will fall. Being deliberate and focused in this way helps to slow the mind so you can remain present.  

mindful walking in nature


6. Observe, without judgement 

Mindfulness takes practice and its ok if your mind wanders. Simply bring it back to the breathing and focus on the present. No judgement, just acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and let them pass. Over time, this technique will cultivate a sense of calm and acceptance.  

7. Practice gratitude 

As you walk, take a moment to truly appreciate the beauty around you. Think about gratitude for the nature that sustains life – the fresh air, the calm breeze, the running water. By expressing gratitude for the beauty and peace of nature, we’re more able to appreciate other things in life which bring us joy too. Friends, family, loved ones, for example.  

8. Incorporate gentle movements 

Physical activity is good for our mental wellness, and walking is one of the most accessible forms there is. As you walk, you can also incorporate some gentle stretches or movements to deepen your connection to the body. Stretch your arms out wide, roll your shoulders, maybe even stop to practice a few yoga moves! Gentle movements like this can really enhance your awareness and enjoyment of the walk. 

 9. Maintain your focus and stay present 

mindful walking in nature

We’ve already mentioned that it’s normal for the mind to wander as you walk. If this happens, gently bring your focus and attention back using the breathing techniques discussed, and by focusing on each step you take. Go back to using your senses and engage with your surroundings again. Staying present really helps you to appreciate the walk. 

10. Reflect on your walk 

How did you feel as you walked? What did you find challenging? How do you feel, physically and emotionally, now that your walk is over? Taking some time to reflect is a really useful tool because it helps to not only consolidate the benefits of your walk, but it deepens your mindfulness practice too.  

Mindful walking in nature can help to deepen our connections with both the environment and ourselves – and suddenly, a simple stroll becomes a powerful tool in restoring and sustaining your mental fitness. Do let us know if these tips help you!