A Long Walk Is As Good for the Mind As It Is for the Body
Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker’s weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and a guide to using its waters to reflect on and improve your life.
This week’s selection comes from Seneca’s On Peace of Mind (17.8). He says that a walk is just as nourishing for the mind as it is for the body:
“It does good also to take walks out of doors, that our spirits may be raised and refreshed by the open air and fresh breeze.”
Here’s another version:
“We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”
What It Means
It’s good for you to go outside and take a walk. Your state of mind and spirit will improve as you breathe in some fresh air.
What to Take From It
There’s no doubt that walking every day, even if only for 20 minutes or so, is good for your health. It gets the heart pumping, works your muscles, burns calories, and generally helps you avoid most of the dangers of an overly-sedentary life. That should be enough for you to take a little time each day to get up and move.
In case health reasons aren’t enough, though, walking also improves your state of mind. It gives you an opportunity to clear your head and think. You can even try what I do and use walking as a time to meditate and reflect on what’s happening in your life. When something is troubling you, or you’re facing a particularly tough obstacle, step outside and walk. Stroll and stroll until you reach your goal. Each step will bring you closer to an answer. Bonus points if you can surround yourself with some nature, which helps soothe the soul even more. Don’t run from your problems, friend, walk toward a solution.
You can read the entirety of Seneca’s On Peace of Mind (also known as On Tranquility of Mind) for free here.