I've been making a lot of changes in my life lately. Trying to identify the negative aspects I need to leave behind, stop circling around certain problems, and learn to live a more intentional life. Here on blog I already shared some of those bad elements - from realising how overrated the news can be to describing the ongoing death of social networking. These negative aspects have been replaced with more or less successful alternatives. However, there's one thing that stands out from the rest.
And it is something as simple as walking. I have always enjoyed walking a great deal all my life, but not intentionally. At present, I strive to cover a considerable distance daily, averaging above 15,000 steps per day. This is despite not managing to walk every single day; usually, it's at least five days out of seven.
Why? It has myriad positive effects. I appreciate the effortless flow that accompanies it. Even if I'm not inclined to walk or the weather is not good (we'll see how this holds up in the heart of winter), I still venture outside. Having a dog to accompany me on my walks certainly helps. However, the magic truly unfolds when I get on with it.
It usually goes like this
- In the first 500 meters, my body is stiff and my muscles are just beginning to warm up. My mind is cluttered with whatever the day has thrown at me. At times, I feel hardly up to the task.
- At the 1.5-kilometre point, my heartbeat stabilises and enters the first zone and the rhythm of the steps is becoming effortless.
- By the 3rd kilometre, I have left all my problems behind. It's just me and the road. Nothing else.
- And then, the 5th-kilometre mark arrives. My mind is clear and at peace with no thoughts buzzing around. I'm free to reflect, ponder upon a topic of my choice, or simply enjoy the void of worrisome thoughts that usually fill my mind.
One magical aspect is that this method even helps me cope with panic attacks, a challenge I had to learn to live with last twelve months. Although they are not frequent, I can identify the triggers. Fortunately, walking is a reliable tool in stopping it.
I suppose everyone has their own "5th kilometre." It doesn't necessarily have to be walking. While physical activity seems to be a common theme, I've heard of others reaching a similar state of mind with activities like meditation, yoga, gardening, cooking, or painting.
So, what's your "5th kilometre" that brings you calm?