Walkabout 2: 55th Avenue to Waties Island
Last week I was walking in Daqing, China; now I'm walking on Cherry Grove Beach in South Carolina. What crazy times we live in. I really, really needed this vacation and it's always great to be back home, even if it is for barely 3 weeks. This has given me some time to work through the creative block I found myself in not too long ago, as well as do some general soul-searching in regard to the work I've been doing and possible projects I may or may not take on. And there is the question of the future. After I complete this final term at the school I manage in Daqing, I will be out of China for good. For real this time. I'm planning on finally stopping dicking around and making the move to London to be with Kate. That process is going to be a big undertaking. So, I've had a lot to walk and think about on this trip.
We already know that walking is a great way to boost creativity, and for some of the greatest minds in history it was an indispensable part of their daily routine. This week I want to talk about how walking is a great stress reliever. The first and most obvious way that it is beneficial for this is that almost any type of exercise produces endorphins in the brain - the main culprit behind the "runner's high". This is why anyone who does regular exercise is going to see an increase in their mood and is an important step for anyone battling depression. Walking, as with any exercise, will eventually create positive momentum in your routine by actually reducing fatigue. I find running in the morning gives me more of a boost than any cup of coffee can (although I do that, too).
I don't do it as often as I should, but I'm very interested in mindfulness meditation. This UK study has shown that walking long distances can put the brain in a meditative state. Walking tends to give us that feeling of being lost in thought. Involuntary attention is the actual term for this and refers to how we can still acknowledge our external surroundings while simultaneously being able to reflect internally. This is a very key aspect of mindfulness that helps us dampen the stimuli of our environment and quietens the mind. I sometimes look at stress as a big knot in my mind and the meditative quality of walking is me working to untie it.
Alright, enough science mumbo jumbo. Here's a few snaps from this month's walk: