We probably all feel some increased well-being when we go for a walk in nature. But what happens when you add mindfulness to your walk? Can it boost the benefits even further?
Dr. Kerstin Ensinger generously shared her study (below for download) that was conducted in the Black Forest National Park in Germany.
This study aimed to determine if providing mindfulness training for a hike in nature benefited the participants, and whether it made a difference to provide this training before or after the hike.
40 minute hiking route, varied terrain
Physiological: Wore sensor wristbands, recording individual physical reactions (body temperature, skin conductance) to the landscape
Self-reporting: Along the way, answered questions about their psychological well-being, and ability to cope with stress.
Control group received mindfulness training after the walk.
Intervention group received mindfulness training before the walk.
What the colours above mean:
The colours are physical responses of the participants.
Colour ranges between Red (high level of stress), and Purple (relaxation).
The lower, intervention group that received mindfulness training before the walk shows more uniformity of reactions.
Both groups reported substantial improvements in their well-being after the walk, but the intervention group reported:
being able to let go of their thoughts and troubles more strongly
their physiological arousal levels were more even
More improved health and wellbeing
Mindfulness matters. Mindfulness applied to a walk in nature boosts well-being.
Isn't this great to see? Here is how to do a walking meditation. Try the 'shifting awareness' one!
Here is a summary of Dr. Ensinger's study if you wish to read it.
~Wendy Quan, Founder, The Calm Monkey