Walking has always been a natural activity for human beings, and its correlation to physical health has been known for centuries. But more recently, we're beginning to understand the important role that walking can play in mental health and overall well-being.
A growing number of studies have shown that walking effectively counters stress, increases energy and motivation, improves self-image, helps dissipate negative states of mind, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety and depression. In fact, for some people walking can be more effective than antidepressants in improving their overall mood. At the same time, walking — a "bilateral therapy" — engages both sides of the brain for optimal function and heightened creativity.
My clients are attracted to walking sessions for many reasons. Some find that movement improves their alertness and concentration, resulting in more lasting effectiveness of therapy sessions. Space and motion can facilitate clearer thinking and broader perspectives on whatever issues are occupying their minds. Others feel that walking — literally moving forward — helps them get "unstuck," see more possibilities, and make progress toward their goals.
Walking sessions also incorporate the healing power of nature. Without this kind of exposure, human beings suffer what ecopsychologists call "nature deficit disorder" — a lack of connection with the natural world. Grief and loss can feel especially heavy, and walking outdoors can help counter that weight, making you feel lighter and more alive.
Many of my clients are new parents, who appreciate the convenience of being able to bring their babies along while taking care of themselves, getting exercise, and alleviating postpartum depression, anxiety, fatigue, and stress.
Walks are always at your pace, tailored to your mood, energy, and level of fitness. Locations can include hiking trails, paths, and quiet streets, depending on the weather as well as your particular needs and desires.