How to Be a Mindful Dog Walker
Take advantage of the walk with your dog not only to stretch your body, but also to relax your mind. Mindfulness or vigilant attention or attentiveness, helps to fight stress and promotes well-being and health. To immerse yourself in this technique, you don't have to sit on a meditation pillow and fumigate the living room with white sage. All you have to do is pay attention to this technique during normal activities - for example, when walking your dog.
1. Put your phone down
We all know how a smartphone can disrupt the perception of reality and consume time. Nevertheless, we can’t help ourselves checking Instagram or responding to an irrelevant message. Take advantage of the time with your dog as an opportunity for a short digital detox. Let your phone rest deep in your pocket or on the shelf at home and pay attention only to your buddy and the surroundings.
2. By sniffing to calmness
Be inspired by your pet's strongest sense and follow your nose. First, take a few deep breaths. With each exhalation put away some worry, some stress or an unpleasant feeling. When inhaling, feel the fresh air flowing into your body. Then focus on smell. Do you smell the landscape you are walking through? Can you feel the fallen leaves or the approaching rain? Try to smell all the information that the air brings you.
3. In one rhythm
Listen to your own steps. And then focus on your dog's four paws. Try to discover the rhythm in which you are walking together. Become aware of the terrain you are walking on, how the sidewalk differs from the grass, how you are sinking into freshly fallen snow or how the water is squelching under your feet.
4. Let yourself be guided
Deviate from your beaten path and let yourself be guided by your dog. Pay attention to the places where he stops, the directions he looks and the shortcuts he takes. Just follow the dog trail and try to perceive it with the dog's senses this time.
5. Scan your body
Try to realize what is happening in your body right now. Do you feel completely relaxed or do you feel pressure somewhere? What is your mood today and what is it based on? Imagine that a tiny checker passes through your limbs, trunk and head, watching closely what is new and different that day. You can scan your body at the beginning and end of the walk to better understand the change that the walk with your dog companion has brought you.