Walking the Dog
When I became a dog owner, walking the dog became my favorite activity. Why? I get exercise which releases endorphins and promotes a positive mood. I bond with my pet, who I adore, which releases oxytocin, another feel-good hormone. I get out in the fresh air and connect with nature, which I find grounding and good for the soul. I am mindful and present to the moment. My attention is focused on our walk, my dog’s needs, and our time together. Sometimes it’s just a twenty minute walk and sometimes it’s an hour, but either way, it refreshes me. I clear my head, raise my energy levels while still feeling relaxed, focused, and happy. Then, I am ready to return to my day.
I want to ask all of you, what your “walking the dog?” Can you find something you love that does not take much time, but is almost always available to you, to reset your day? What 20-minute or less activity allows you to clear away whatever has happened and recharge for a fresh start?
It’s important for all of us to have these pleasurable ways to break up our days and our (sour) moods. Walking the dog works so well for me because in a short amount of time, I am able to meet so many of my mind and body’s needs: my heart’s desire to be with someone I love, my body’s need for exercise, my mind’s need for clearing out and relaxation.
Try to find an activity that combines multiple reset strategies into one activity and start doing it. Monitor how you feel before and after. If after a week there isn’t a decrease in your daily stress level, try another activity. Don’t give up. Keep trying until you find the one that works for you. Just make it something that can be done in a reasonable amount of time, at a moment’s notice, and that hits on as many of your needs (body, mind, and soul) as possible.
Let me know what you come up with. Now, It’s time to walk the dog.