Recently the Washington Post published and article about hiking and that new research suggest natures walks are good for your brain.
Before and also after the walk, the participants answered a questionnaire designed to measure their tendency toward “rumination,” a pattern of often negative, inward-directed thinking and questioning that has been tied to an increased risk of depression, and that is assessed with questionnaire items like “My attention is often focused on aspects of myself I wish I’d stop thinking about,” and “I spend a great deal of time thinking back over my embarrassing or disappointing moments.”
While research is helpful, first hand account is even better. My reasons for hiking are many and there are benefits I reap. After reading the article I had to agree. Anytime I spend hiking in the woods I return with clearer thinking.
I work in sales, and the monthly quota is challenging. More specifically, I work in sales of technology, the cell phone business. For forty plus hours a week with a varying schedule I assist customers with their technology needs and wants. The aspect of my job I enjoy the most is working with people and knowing when I’m done I’ve served them well. I’ll admit I even feel like a hero after solving a problem. However, I find the longer I’m in this business the more I’m ready to move onto something else. Working with technology everyday is tiring and can be frustrating. At the end of my shift I’m usually tired mentally or as some call it; brain fried. Technology is dominating our culture. At some point during my week I need a break.
I don’t know about you but I have found going hiking and being outdoors has become a necessity in my life. I’ve noticed when I go for long periods of time NOT hiking I become agitated and irritable. My mind becomes cluttered and tired. And work becomes more frustrating.
I’ve realized making time to get outdoors for a long hike needs to be a priority. It’s during my hikes the mind becomes clear. I begin to think more creatively. And I’ve found a clearer mind along with the physical exercise of hiking leads to a better overall feeling.
While the Washington Post’s article gives some good insight, nothing beats first hand experience. So if you’re like me as well as many others and you feel the day to day grind is cluttering your mind. Make time to get outdoors for a walk in nature. Make it a priority.
Remember, life is one long journey we hike by faith. Learn to disconnect, walk away from technology and clutter and clear the mind, body and soul. It’s what’s good for you.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to take my own advise. There is a trail calling my name and it wants to clear my mind from things that simply don’t matter.