Today has been quite a gloomy one. I woke up to a sick cat and a very overworked and tired girlfriend. Quite a lot was going on and it really didn’t make the morning too fun. One thing that did help was the gloominess of the morning. Today has an 80% chance of rain, throughout the day. It is one of those days where you just want to snuggle under the covers, watch Harry Potter, and eat a ton of candy. Unfortunately, today is a lab day, so I am doing experiments. I need mindfulness.
Walking and Mindfulness
The best part of this morning was the walk to campus. I say it all the time, but one really should walk everywhere, if you are able. This morning was perfect weather to walk to campus. It’s slightly cool, there’s hardly any wind, and it’s extremely overcast. I was considering scooting but figured that a walk would be better. Usually, I will listen to music on my walk, but today, I decided to just walk without the added distraction. It made all the difference.
I have to be honest with all of you, I haven’t been practicing mindfulness as much as I had in the past. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. I was primarily using mindfulness to calm my very anxious mind. In the past year, I have gotten to a point where I don’t have panic attacks often, I don’t have ruminating thoughts, and my depression has basically disappeared. I believe that it all comes down to my mindfulness practice and living in the moment. Because I wasn’t actively trying to prevent anxiety and depression, my mindfulness practices have lessened. Today, I decided to just try and be in the moment on my walk to campus.
This mindfulness practice involves just walking and paying attention to the sights, sounds, and smells that surround you. On rainy days, you really get to experience quite a few different sights, sounds and smells. It was very calm at the time that I left, so the sounds were mostly cars. Every once in a while, I would hear the squirrels or birds in the trees, which made for a nice transition from the sounds of motorized vehicles passing. Now the sights and smells were better than just the sounds. When it’s rainy, everything is a bit more gloomy so you get to experience familiar things in an unfamiliar manner. Most days are sunny, so I am used to experiencing those things in the sun, but on rainy days, they look way different.
The smells, oh the smells, were quite intense. Not anything bad, though, just more potent. Apparently from this article, “When it rains, spores produced by the actinomycetes are pushed up into the air, releasing the geosmin and creating that fresh, distinctive scent, according to Smithsonian.” Thanks, spores, you made my walk quite good-smelling lol.
I was at Peace
Focusing on all three of these senses really brought me more in touch with my mindfulness practices. For 30 minutes, I was living in the moment, not worrying about the work I had to do, the troubles of the day, or thoughts about the future. I was in the “now”. I almost forgot how amazing this feeling was and how peaceful I became during the walk. The whole rainy day vibes really made me peaceful as well. It would definitely be nice to have a few more of these days in the near future.
I highly encourage you to just go for a 30-minute walk and focus on the sights, sounds and smells that you experience during the walk. Don’t listen to music, don’t look at your phone, and most importantly, don’t think. Just tune in to your surroundings and be in the moment. If any thought pops into your head, acknowledge it and let it pass. I guarantee that you will have an amazing experience.
I want to challenge you to take a 30-minute walk sometime today or this week and just observe everything around you. Go outside, if it’s not too cold, and just live in the moment. focus on the different sounds, smells, and try and pay attention to details of things around you. Look at a tree and focus on what the bark looks like. Things like that. But please, please, please stay off your phone. 30 minutes without looking at your phone is a long time, I know, but it is worth it. I hope you accept this challenge and try mindfulness out for yourself. I guarantee it is worth it.
Today didn’t start off as planned but most of my days don’t start that way. Walking in the rain helped to ground myself and find peace in this world, even for a short amount of time. I highly recommend walking in stormy weather. There is an odd sense of peace unless it’s a hurricane. Then maybe stay inside lol. I hope you all have a wonderful day. I will be in my lab for a long time today, doing experiments. Let me know in the comments of mindfulness techniques that you use. I am sure we can all gain something from those.