ChiWalking for Anxiety, Stress or Mild Depression
If you’re seeking quick relief from stress, anxiety or mild to moderate depression, try walking. Walking has been proven to help alleviate these conditions faster than most medications and with more beneficial outcomes in the long term. As you continue to practice a walking regimen, you’ll soon discover the incredible, natural results that you can’t find elsewhere.
Managing stress or mild depression takes skills that few of us are taught in our very fast-paced society. Walking is one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective ways to sooth ragged nerves and give you back the vitality that mild depression can deplete.
Walking is proven to increase feelings of pleasure, well-being and enhance and improve your mood. Walking increases endorphin production, the natural opiates from your body’s own internal pharmacy. Walking also increases neuron development, helping to reduce depression and anxiety. With the ChiWalking technique, because of the mind-body component of Body Sensing, listening to your body and responding to its needs, our clients express that they feel a much stronger sense of self-reliance, personal control over their lives, and a sense of personal power and inner strength.
Learning new and positive skills, such as improving your posture and engaging your core muscles, also helps to focus your attention away from repetitive or negative thoughts and toward the neutral, calming rhythm of your body. Increased exercise builds the depth and rate of your breath, oxygenating your whole body and acting as a balm to sooth the jagged edges of your nerves.
Try these tips to get the most out of your mood-boosting walks:
- Acknowledge the importance of a strong core. While your legs actually move you forward, it’s your engaged core muscles that allow your legs and feet to relax, making your walks more comfortable and enjoyable. As your core muscles grow stronger, envision your Center (or guiding force) becoming more stable as well. This strength will help you become more confident in your decisions, emotions, and relationships.
- Do The Energizing Walk (20 min. to an hour). By belly-breathing as fully and often as possible, this walk helps gets your energy moving and is best done first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon when your energy begins to dip. To do this walk:
- Begin at a relaxed pace (60-70 strides per minute). Breathe fully and slowly throughout the entire walk, emptying your lungs completely and then completely filling them with each breath cycle.
- Walk for 5 minutes doing belly breathing. Then, imagine a stream of energy rising up your spine to the top of your head with each inhale. When you exhale, imagine the energy flowing back down the front side of your spine to your pubic bone. Do this breathing and energy visualization for the entire length of the walk.
Check out the ChiWalking Book and DVD to learn about other aspects of the ChiWalking technique that benefit mind and body.
- Take an inventory of how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally before and after your walks. Write down anything you might be struggling with; your emotions, any physical ailments, etc. When you return, review your list and record how you feel. Becoming familiar with yourself in all aspects and seeing the positive impact of exercise ,immediately and over time, can be very powerful.
The real beauty of walking is that all the “side effects” are positive. If you do suffer from pain or discomfort while walking, the ChiWalking technique will help you find the cause of that pain and alleviate it with good walking technique. Our clients have found relief from back, hip, foot or leg pain by using these techniques. Our ChiWalking DVD and Walking Workbook help you get started with easy-to-follow lessons that have a big impact on improving the quality of your life-all without the negative side effects that many prescribed pills have. Lift your spirits naturally and enjoy the simple pleasure of walking, a pleasure with nothing but benefits.
The next time you go walking, try to focus on your natural surroundings and the beauty of everyday life. Acknowledge others as they pass by and recognize yourself as a moving, participating member of nature. Sometimes, simply knowing we’re part of something larger than our own thoughts can make difficult emotions easier to process.
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