CARE- Gratitude Walks
Sunday was the perfect day to put into practice one of the easiest and most positive elements of self-care: the Gratitude Walk. Here in Minneapolis, we are lucky enough to have a few beautiful lakes to walk around, and just as many other paths and quirky sidewalks, all of which are ever-changing with the seasons. We chose Lake Calhoun on Sunday and set out with only one intention: to be grateful.
There are many types of meditation, and this particular type combines walking and movement with gratitude-specific thinking. You can either choose your route ahead of time or instead, choose to wander. We recommend choosing the route before you get started, as this will allow you to focus more closely on being grateful, but there are definitely benefits to wandering and seeing where your feet and thoughts take you as well.
Once you’ve begun your walk, gently focus your thoughts on something you are grateful for. This can be anything-- a person in your life, your pet, the weather, your job, good health, etc. Choose the first thing that comes into your head and go with it. Say to yourself, “I am grateful for _____ .” Keep thinking about the thing/person you have chosen and delve more and more into what about it/them you are grateful for, getting as specific and detailed as you want. If you chose the weather, for example, you might say: “I am grateful for the beautiful weather today. I am grateful that it inspired me to go on a walk. I am grateful that the sun is shining, and that I can feel its warmth.” Try to allow your thoughts to continue naturally down the path of being grateful and continue forming statements in your mind about why you are grateful. You can move on to another thing/person as soon as you are ready.
And remember, you do not have to choose something that you automatically feel grateful for. For example, maybe you have been feeling a little dissatisfied with your job lately. Try statements like, “I am grateful for my job. I am grateful for all of the experience I am getting. I am grateful that I am learning new things about myself and other people. I am grateful that I have the ability to make my job more satisfying.” By choosing to be grateful and to think positively about something that might not feel positive, you can help to alter your attitude and maybe even gain some clarity and insight. You can also focus on and name the parts of the job that are satisfying.
With each thing you are grateful for, you should start to feel a happy buzz of loving and positive energy. Keep going!
If you choose a person you are grateful for, try visualizing sending them some of the good energy and warmth you feel. It can’t hurt! We hope you give this gratitude walk a try. It can be a really amazing experience and at the very least, should leave you feeling relaxed and positive the rest of the day. Enjoy!