Do you want to feel better?
Do you want to feel better?

Mindful walking: simple steps to boost your mood

This page may contain Affiliate links. For more information, read my Affiliate Disclosure.

Table of Contents

Winter is tough for me especially when it is cold and rainy. Since I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder and anxiety, I usually wake up in the morning and my mind is racing with everything I need to do. For the past month, I’ve tried something new since I have a hard time relaxing, let alone getting anything done. Every morning soon after I wake up, I put on my walking shoes and head outside to go on a mindful walk.

You won’t believe it but these morning walks have made a remarkable difference in my mood, and energy level and even lowered my anxiety.

Like the other day, when I saw this unbelieve rainbow and a flock of blackbirds in a V formation.

In the past, I would not have been paying attention to any of this but now I make it a priority to walk mindfully.

Are you curious about what mindful walking is and how to get started?

What is mindful walking?

Mindful walking is essentially the idea of being fully present in your body when you’re moving.

Next time you wake up in the morning I want you to try something new.

As soon as you get up in the morning and transition from lying to standing, stay in your body and notice the sensations. Focus on how and where you place your feet. Take note of the different surfaces.

What did you notice?

Typically we go through our day on autopilot not paying attention to how our body moves or interacts with our environment.

Mindful walking forces you to pay attention and be present.

As a result, you move away from the ruminating thoughts in your head and instead are present in your body.

How can someone start to practice mindful walking?

Anyone can start practicing mindful walking since most of us walk as a form of movement.

The easiest way to start is to make a commitment when you wake up in the morning that you are going to focus on being mindful and paying attention to your body.

As I mentioned before, you are probably lost in thought and go about your day in a sort of trance.

Mindfulness is an opportunity to come back to the present moment and essentially focus on your breath and body rather than on your pervasive thoughts.

Mindful walking 101-tips to get started

1. Set achievable goals

To begin with, start small (even just once a week for 10 minutes is a great start). Eventually, you can increase your mindful walking to three times a week for 20 minutes.

It’s best to start your mindful walks outside since you will also benefit from spending time outdoors.

Be gentle with yourself since it’s normal to get distracted by thoughts.

I know that when I practice mindful walking I have to keep redirecting myself to my feet on the ground and sensing my breath.

Pantea Rahimian

Take control. Feel better.

Start your Self-care Journey.

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
Self-care Journey.

The most important part of mindful walking is that you are actually doing it.

Even more, you are making an effort at practicing and reaping the benefits of mindful walking.

2. Focus on your footsteps

Not sure where to bring your focus while walking?

It’s easy, to focus on your stride which provides a constant, meditative rhythm.

No matter where you are on your walk, your footsteps will be there for you to tune into.

Even if you’re running down the hall to a meeting or navigating a store packed with shoppers, you can dial into this sensation and bring yourself back to the present moment.

Another way to practice mindful walking is to ask yourself these questions which will help you be more aware of your body:

  • What does it feel like as each foot hits the ground?
  • What part connects with the earth first?
  • How do your feet feel in your shoes?
  • How do your feet feel on the surface (if walking barefoot?)

Once you start observing these little details, you’ll notice the rhythm of your feet,

This awareness will bring you into mindfulness and all the positive, calming benefits that come with it.

3. Tune into your breath

Your breath is a powerful tool that you can use when you’re engaging in mindful walking.

While it may sound simple, observing how you breathe with each step allows you to feel more present.

And it’s something you can easily return to at any point in your walk to bring your mind back to the center.

Your breath is one constant you can count on. You don’t have to make yourself do it for it to happen, it’s always happening in the background.

Then, when you do pay attention to your breath, it comes into the foreground, which helps you be more appreciative and grounded in what is happening at the moment.

4. Mindful walking with a friend

One of the best ways to practice walking mindfully is to do it with a friend or even a group of people.

This will help you stay accountable to your regular walks and also adds the benefit of connecting with someone that has their own feel-good benefits.

5. Try a guided walking meditation

If you’re new to mindful walking it can feel a little bit unsettling.

Perhaps you find yourself distracted, ruminating, or eager to get on your phone.

Instead, walk with a purpose and try a guided wellness walk. These walks can give you a set of prompts to focus on and most importantly alleviate your stress.

3 types of mindful walking exercises to try

When you’re new to mindful walking, it can be helpful to try a specific type of mindful walking exercise to help you gain some focus and perspective.

Here are 3 different exercises you can try outdoors.

1. The “I Spy Walk”

If you have a lot on your mind, the “I spy walk” is perfect for you.

I love playing this game when I walk with kids and it’s a great activity to do as an adult.

Go on a walk and look around. It’s a great way for your brain to reshuffle from thinking about to-do lists or the worst-case scenarios and instead zones in on a single achievable task.

As a result, your mind calms down.

When you’re outdoors, look around you and say to yourself “I spy a red car. I spy a blackbird. I spy a flower in the bush.”

Then afterward, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I feel relaxed after walking for a few minutes?
  • Did I realize that I wasn’t overwhelmed with so many thoughts?
  • Do I feel better and more relaxed?

You can also try the “I spy walk” with friends since it helps you both focus on being present.

2. Walking in the rain

Have you ever seen the movie “Singing in the Rain”?

Whenever I see the movie I want to join the dancers since they seem so happy.

Walking in the rain is a wonderful way to practice mindful walking because the sights, sounds, and scents of a walk in the rain are powerful for your senses.

The colors of the ground, trees, plants, and leaves all become new shades. The air smells fragrant and rich.

Next time it’s raining, put your jacket on, grab an umbrella, and head outside. Try to be fully aware, present, and in tune with your senses, your body, and the landscape around you.

Then afterward, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I hear?
  • What did I smell?
  • What did it feel like when I was walking in the rain?
  • What sensations did I feel in my body?

Walking in the rain is a wonderful activity to do on your own or with someone since you can both get the benefits of the experience.

3. Walk barefoot

There are many benefits of walking barefoot in nature and research suggests that it can actually boost your mood.

To try this exercise, go to a park, beach, or even your own backyard and take off your socks and shoes.

Once you’re barefoot, slowly walk around and take in the sights, sounds, scents, and sensations around you.

Spread out your toes and wiggle them; let your feet fully grasp the soil or sand beneath you.

It’s okay to get your feet dirty and walk slowly while noticing your posture.

Feel the energy move through you with each step, take a deep breath with each step-inhale and exhale.

Then afterward, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I like most about the experience?
  • Where did I walk and what was it like?
  • How was it walking barefoot in nature?

Once you start walking barefoot in nature you’ll realize how much better you feel and will try it more often.

What are the benefits of mindful walking?

There are numerous benefits to mindful walking and you will notice that you feel happier, healthier, and more connected to your body and your surroundings.

Most importantly, when you practice any type of meditation, you become more compassionate, calmer, and understanding of yourself and others.

According to Healthline, researchers have found evidence to suggest that mindful walking meditation can help reduce anxiety, improve digestion, and improve sleep quality.

Are there any apps that can help someone practice mindful walking?

I love using meditation apps since they have helped me begin and maintain my daily mindfulness meditation exercises.

If you’re new to meditation, I recommend the best meditation tips for beginners.

Some of my favorite meditation apps that also offer guided meditation walking exercises are the following:

  • Headspace offers guided walking exercises to help you become aware of your body’s movements as you practice this form of meditation
  • Calm app has a series of mindful walking meditations, ranging from five minutes to 30 minutes, so you can work on your mindfulness practice even if you’re a bit short on time
  • Ten Percent Happier is solid on the science behind meditation and how and why meditation helps you feel better.
  • Insight Timer has over 75,000+ free guided meditations and talks from top meditation and mindfulness experts


To be fully transparent, it’s not easy to practice mindful walking because it requires your full attention.

Historically whenever I was going on a walk I usually just focused on getting to the destination or was distracted and mentally absent.

Instead, ever since I started mindful walking on a regular basis, I’ve noticed positive changes in my overall mood. I take note of things I never would have seen like some beautiful leaves or a falcon flying in the sky.

Mindful walking may take a little time to get used to, but I have to tell you, it is worth persisting.

Moreover, you already know that exercise and mindfulness help lower your stress. Most importantly these activities help improve your physical health and emotional well-being.

Lastly, when you start walking mindfully, you will realize that it’s actually the journey, not the destination that matters.

Instead of being mentally absent from your life as you chase your next target or goals, you will notice that being present helps you appreciate what is directly in front of you.

Have you tried mindful walking? If so, what did you like best about the experience? Was it difficult and what helped you get back on track? Please share your comments and stories below.

Now, it's up to you to take action!

  1. Share this article on social media to support me in publishing more high-quality content in the future
  2. Get started now and include what you’ve learned throughout this article in your daily routine
Pantea Rahimian

Take control. Feel better.

Start your Self-care Journey.

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
Self-care Journey.


36 Responses

    1. Hi there I agree that mindfulness walks can be enhanced with apps. I love Headspace as well! They have some pretty good videos on Netflix that I’ve been watching recently and I have learned several new mindfulness techniques through them.

  1. I really like walking barefoot on the beach, feeling the sand under my toes…might be doing some mindful walking later on… Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is such a valuable post. Mindful walking has so many benefits. Trust me when I say that. Lately, I’ve started this practice and I am reeping wonderful rewards. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post! I love walking but often get distracted. Your article was a wake-up call to use walking as a mindful exercise. Thank you for the helpful tips on incorporating mindfulness into walking. Looking forward to trying them out.

    1. Hi Max thanks so much! I love walking too and find myself distracted quite often. Using different mindfulness exercises (like the I spy technique) work well and I’ve noticed that I feel a lot more grounded. Let me know how the mindful walking goes for you!

  4. This is such a great post! I used to go for daily walks, which changed when I switched jobs. I can’t wait to get back into mindful walking when the weather gets warmer.

  5. I love this so much! I think mindful walking is such an important to for self care and even innovation. I loved having walking meetings with my staff because walking fosters creativity and the outdoors are so calming. It’s a great way to create productivity in your personal and professional life.

    1. Hi Andrea thank you so much! I love having walking meetings as well because it’s so much more relaxing instead of sitting indoors around a table. In addition, walking helps boost creativity and like you said productivity! Thanks for suggesting mindful walking meetings since that’s taking this endeavor in such a great direction!

  6. Great post! I love walking but often get distracted. Your article was a wake-up call to use walking as a mindful exercise. Thank you for the helpful tips on incorporating mindfulness into walking. Looking forward to trying them out.

    1. Hi Dinah I’m the same…I love walking but am often distracted and not present. Being mindful definitely takes practice and I try to do it at least once a day when I’m walking. Yesterday, instead of focusing on the annoying thoughts racing in my mind, I focused on looking around at the trees around me and noticed that I felt much more relaxed. I can’t wait to hear what your experience is like!

  7. Great article! It’s too easy for us to become detached from ourselves with all of the distractions. We need to remember how to be mindful and this is an amazing way to do that! Thank you 😊

    1. Hi Gabby I agree with you that it’s easy for us to become detached from ourselves with the worries, stressors, and distractions around us. Thanks for agreeing with the value of mindful walking to help us get grounded and calmer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Table of Contents

Pantea Rahimian

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
Self-care Journey.

Read Next:

Contact Me

Self-care Guide

Thank you for downloading my Self-care Guide.

Now, go check your emails. My Self-care Guide will be arriving shortly!


Thank you for signing up for my Newsletter!

Now, you will be the first to be notified of new articles,
upcoming workshops and Self Care tips.

Do you want to feel better?
Do you want to feel better?

We use cookies to help optimize your online experience. By clicking “Accept” or continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Thank you for your message!