The Resiliency/Grit Development Challenge: A Walk in the Park

The Idea

Resiliency and Grit are learned behaviors that enable us to not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity.  This is the 14th of 14 daily messages, each containing an exercise designed to strengthen your development of these two key skills.  I hope you kept a journal, recorded your reflections, and chronicled your growth.  When things get tough, and you are wondering how much more you can take, refer to your journal, find an exercise and implement it. Resilience and grit are like any other muscle; they must be exercised and used or they will atrophy.  Now move forward and make a difference – you got this!

Exercise #13

I’ve saved the best for last!  Let’s go for a mindful walk!.

Extensive research has demonstrated that spending time in nature reduces depression, increases energy and boosts the immune system.  The physical and psychological benefits cannot be found anywhere else.  When we are emotionally upset or not feeling well, we often feel disconnected from the world around us.  However, nature reminds us of how connected we are to the universe.  Spending time outdoors helps remind us of how everything is interconnected and can be a great source of healing.  Being outdoors strengthens our minds and bodies and has an incredible effect on our health and well-being. Hence, the goal of this exercise is to provide you with a widely accessible, simple, and affordable way to replenish your resilience and boost your grit.  The first step will be your toughest challenge!

  1. Give yourself 30-60 minutes to pursue this activity. 
  2. Choose a natural place to go to.  It could be a wooded area near you, a walking path or a dedicated park area.
  3. Dress in comfortable clothes and walking shoes.  Remember, this is not a workout.  There is no need for a timer, heart monitor or your headphones.
  4. Shut off your cell phone!
  5. Visit your selected site; the more quiet and peaceful, the better.
  6. Keep your mind alert, yet relaxed. Walking through nature peacefully engages the mind, body, and spirit.
  7. Pursue a three-way focus:
    1. Focus your attention on smells. What does the air smell like?
    2. Focus your attention on sounds. What do you hear?  Notice all sounds as they come and go.
    3. Focus your attention on sights. What do you see? What are the predominant colors?
  8. Continue to walk slowly.
  9. If something you notice is eye-catching, allow yourself the time to fully appreciate it.
  10. Cycle through steps #5-#7 for as long as feels comfortable to you.
  11. Walk for as long as you like.

When you have completed your walk, I can guarantee you will feel more relaxed, optimistic and energized.  You will have replenished your resilience stores, feel rejuvenated and be ready to return to the performance zone.

Embrace the Challenge
Take a Walk