I usually like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks* to add some extra fun when I take Khalee for a walk. On challenging days, when my walk would be filled with unhelpful rumination, focusing on a different narrative is really helpful.
However, me being me, I end up overthinking everything, including the fact that I listen to stuff while I walk.
Would it be better to walk quietly and just observe?
Should I make an effort to do walking meditations more often?
Would walking mindfully serve the same brain-clearing purpose as immersing myself in a narrative does?
I didn’t know the answer to these questions so I’ve been choosing to walk without my headphones**every so often lately, just to see how I feel about it.
It turns out that I like it…as an occasional thing.
It’s good to take a break from my usual routine and I enjoy choosing to let my mind wander as I walk.
And it was interesting to realize that while I’m obviously more mindful while walking without headphones, it turns out that I am generally pretty observant on all my walks.
Even with my headphones on, I notice changes in my neighbourhood. I see different flowers and trees growing. I stop to take pictures.
That’s not the behaviour of someone who is zoned out or too caught up in her entertainment to notice the world around her.
Waking loud (i.e. with headphones) or walking quiet (i.e. without headphones) turns out to be one of those situations where I can have it both ways.
Either type of walk is enjoyable and they both do me some good.
So I guess I’ll just play it by ear (ha!) from now on.
PS – What do you do when you’re walking? Are your headphones on or off?
*I have been having a great time listening to Ghostly Thistle’s fiction podcast The Antique Shop lately and I recently enjoyed Kate Racculia’s book Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts narrated by Lauren Fortgang.
**Well, headphone, singular, I don’t use two headphones while walking so I can stay aware of my surroundings. I only use two when I am wearing my hatphones – they don’t block out noise the way my regular headphones do.