Wellness Series: Walk With Purpose
Have you ever gotten so consumed with work and the distractions of life? With the little things that steal your joy; that weigh you down; that drain your energy? When this happens, what do you do? Our guest author, Dr. Jacqueline D. Lee, shares a great way to step back and reset by taking a mindful walk. She calls it the “Just Be” walk. Your walk can be in the middle of a work day, and can be as long or as short as you desire. Let Dr. Jacqueline Lee guide you through it.
By Dr. Jacqueline D. Lee
At work and in life, you have to remember to take a step back in order to step up.
In taking a moment to step back from the minor details that seem so colossal at times, an opportunity presents itself for you to see life, things, and situations through a different lens. Step back, and lay aside every weight that so easily besets. Every stress. Every struggle. Allow yourself the freedom to just be.
Before Starting Your Walk
First, notice a few things: your feet solidly on the ground, your legs strong underneath you, your torso and belly expanding as your lungs fill up with air. Let your arms simply hang by your sides, free of all tension, and allow your neck to support your head, un-cocked and without tension in your neck and shoulders. Now breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 2, and breathe out for a count of 6. Try six sets of inhaling-holding-exhaling at counts of 4-2-6, respectively.
During Your Walk
JUST BE. As you begin your walk, simply be aware of your surroundings and experience. What are you seeing near you? What are you seeing with a distant gaze? Notice the colors. Have you ever noticed this much before?
What sounds do you hear?
What do you smell?
What are you feeling (i.e., externally as in, the sun’s rays on your face)? Notice how your body feels moving. Notice how you’re feeling (i.e., internally as in, “I feel good”, or “I feel appreciative”, or “I feel grateful”). Enjoy the experience.
At the End of Your Walk
As you slow down, place your attention back on your breathing, inhaling-holding-exhaling at counts of 4-2-6, as you did before your walk; repeating the sequence four to six times. Notice any changes in your state of mind or attitude from before to after your Just Be walk. A question you can ponder is, “How do I see, now?”
Make sure to hydrate with water as you move onward and upward with the rest of your day.
When I did my Just Be walk, I felt the wind blowing, and the rays of sun and warmth on my face and body. I felt light, as a sense of freedom arose – freedom from distraction, freedom from thoughts and details. I allowed myself to Just Be –unhindered in movement, and free from focused thought.
Walking Just Be is one opportunity I take to un-distractedly remain aware of the presence of the One I serve. In this awareness, I live free of all stress, worry, and anxiety that can come when focus and attention is placed on the minutia of life. All is disarmed through this lens.
Gain new perspective.
Now, move forward.
Onward and upward; go.
Dr. Jacqueline D. Lee works for EXOS, a global pioneer in human performance. She is the Performance Coach for IBM, driving education and solutions around proactive health and wellness in the areas of mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery. Partnering with the IBM Global Health Promotions Department of Integrated Health Services, as well as the IBM Leadership Development Team, Dr. Lee touches a wide range of employees – from new hires to executives – working towards restoring and upgrading lives. Prior to working for EXOS, Dr. Lee spent time in the professional sports industry, taught as an Associate Instructor at a Big Ten University, and has done research in the areas of comprehensive wellness, sport management, and psychology.
This blog was originally published on April 2, 2017