As the nights draw in, we may well find ourselves entertaining those not so helpful thoughts about longing for the long summer days to return and fighting against the natural inevitability of the changing seasons, with the arrival of autumn.
Perhaps it’s too dark, too cold, too wet, too muddy….!!
I can certainly relate to this as I often find myself drifting into thinking about wishing it was different somehow.
I’ve learnt however that it’s quite normal and natural to become distracted by the illusion of the past or the future and that this awareness of the distraction allows me to choose to return to the reality of the present moment. The movement between awareness of the present moment and thinking reminds me of the gentle sway of a tall tree in the breeze, moving gently one way and then the other and it’s all fine.
It can be so beneficial for us both emotionally and physically to take ourselves out for a mindful walk each day if possible and here are five reasons why it can be particularly helpful in the autumn:
- The trees are getting ready to shed their leaves and in doing so they turn into the most amazing vivid array of colours; reds, oranges, yellows, browns. The changing colours can help you to pause for a moment and absorb their beauty. This can help to calm an agitated body and a busy chattering mind. See if you can pause for a moment and become aware of the many different tones and shades.
- As the trees let go of their leaves, they spend time very quietly and gently drifting down to the ground where they settle in stillness. Pause and watch them fall and perhaps see if you can also let go of any tension in the body with each outbreath.
- As the temperature drops, feel the coolness on your skin. Notice which parts of the body feels warm as it’s wrapped in coats and scarfs and which parts feel cool. Take some deep breaths and feel the cool air moving through your mouth or nostrils and sweeping the back of your throat as you breathe in, filling the lungs before releasing the air with the outbreath.
- Spent a few moments use the mindfulness support of sound. Listen to the rustling of the leaves as you walk through them or the squelching of mud or the sound of the wind moving around your face and ears or the sound of birds flocking together to migrate to warmer places. Pause for a few moments to gently hear any sounds that arrive into your awareness.
- Experiment with walking at different paces if possible. If your mind feels busy and agitated, check to see if your body is fuelling this by walking quickly and if so, you might like to choose to slow your pace down. This can help to calm the mind too. Equally. If you’re feeling a bit fed up and lethargic, your pace of walking may well be slow, so you may choose to speed up your pace slightly and lift your posture. This can be energising for you and lift your mood.