A WALK A DAY KEEPS THE WORRY AWAY
Walking is one of my go-to 'feel better fast' activities, and I make sure a get a walk in daily, even if it's a short one. Walking clears my head, gets the blood pumping (sometimes that's just the cold air, but I do like to walk fast, usually to a good beat), and as simple as it is, it has largely been responsible for getting me in shape lately.
But it's not just the act of walking that can boost the positive vibes - it's what you see along the way.
Recently, Ben was away for a few weeks and I was a little shell shocked to find myself alone A LOT...especially considering we do almost everything together and have for nearly 10 years (cringe if you must but it works for us).
This particular day I was feeling very under the weather, mostly because my emotions will sync with the weather if I let them. It was rainy and damp and I woke up feeling like I could stay in bed forever. Even when I did finally get up, I was still dragging myself around and feeling all sorts of sorry for myself. Thing is: I live in paradise and I can see the beach from my bedroom window. One can never really feel miserable with that kind of outlook - even if it is raining.
And even without Ben's company, I knew I had to get outside if I wanted an adventure to make me feel better. I knew from practice that doing something differently to how you've always done it, and maybe at a time you didn't really feel like doing it, usually results in the best experiences. So I donned my trainers, slapped on a hat and decided to ditch the phone and headphones for my solo stroll.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY
Down on the boardwalk of the beach, the first 20 minutes of my walk were hell for my legs (it was dawning on me that walking consistently was working).
It was also extremely awkward. In my mind.
No headphones and no beat to disappear into gave me free reign to over-analyse:
"I should really be running"
"I'm not the best runner"
"I wish my knees were skinnier"
"I wish I could wear tiny shorts like that?"
"Why can't people stay in their lane?!"
You feel me?
It was ridiculous.
Luckily, the day before I had watched Marie Forleo's rad video where she talks about an experiment carried out on two groups of people working out. The first group focused on the destination and the end result, and the second group focused on the process and the next step, next step, next step. Those that were focusing on the process enjoyed themselves more and actually ended up doing more exercise than the people who were focused only on the end result.
With a jolt, this message pinged back into my brain and I smiled....
EXPERIMENT & WATCH WHAT HAPPENS
Mid grin the best thing ever happened....
Someone on the other side of the footpath smiled back at me.
It was the kind of knowing smile of someone who has also been caught in a nice thought. It was 'keep smiling and make them wonder what you're up to' played out right there on the footpath.
And it felt great so I kept it there.
It really is true that a smile can send feel-good vibes all over your body that spread from you to anyone who see's it! I picked up my pace, my aches and pains faded into the background and I focused on the joy of the walk and the beautiful view.
I smiled at everyone that walked past, at everyone that was sitting on the park bench, at everyone that was getting out of their car. Old people, young people, strange-looking people, really pretty people which I had tended to look away from (clearly I still have work to do on that one!). I even had a little giggle with a couple of people, the happiness was THAT ripe! Smiling at people with dogs was especially fun for the cute greetings like, "Afternoon, Miss," or "Hello," and a nod, or "Good day." I even walked past about busloads of tourists just smiling broadly at all of them, fascinated by their creative outfits and clever cameras... and they just stared at me. It was hilarious. And it was great.
TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN
Two hours later I was beaming from ear to ear with a major pep in my step....still walking!
I had turned bedridden and boring to getting out there, seeking adventure, focusing on the process smiling at everyone, and walking farther than I had in a long time - without pain. I felt energetic and ready for a productive day, like I had loved myself enough to change my state into one that honoured my highest desire - to be happy. And I even felt better about my life in general - positive thoughts and new ideas flowed for hours after and certainly cemented the fact that this was indeed an experiment to make a habit of.
It was a sweet reminder of the little switch we all control in our brain to turn anxious thoughts and feelings into contagious good vibrations. It works, and I even now can't stop smiling just thinking about it.
This thought is nothing new - you've heard it before - but have you actually done it lately?
Do you do something to mix up every day?
When was the last time you unplugged and played the smiling game?
If it's been recently, what happened? How did it feel? I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below.
I'll see you when I'm smiling at you