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Try mindful walking for Mental Health Awareness Week

An image of a woman walking through forest taking in the environment.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is ‘Movement – Moving for our Mental Health’.

Moving more can boost your energy levels, reduce stress and improve your self-esteem.

That doesn’t necessarily mean running a marathon or climbing Everest - for you it could be something as simple as stretching at your office desk or doing some chair exercises while you watch TV.

One simple, free and low-impact way of getting more active is to go for a walk: it’s good for both the body and the mind, improving heart health and blood pressure, and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression too. If you can do it out in nature, all the better: research shows that green and blue spaces like parks, woodlands and waterways positively impact mental health and wellbeing.

To go one step further, try practising some mindfulness while you walk to combat stress and deliver an added dose of relaxation.

At its simplest, mindfulness means being in the present, being aware of our surroundings and our feelings, and learning how to be at peace with our emotions instead of fighting or judging them.

It’s a type of meditation – one that anyone can do, even if you have only a few minutes to spare.

SilverCloud’s online self-help programmes for mild to moderate mental health issues - covering stress, anxiety, sleep problems and more – contain a set of mindfulness tools, including a downloadable MP3 guide to mindful walking.

If you want to give mindful walking a try, remember that it’s not about the destination – it’s about the journey.

We’re often moving without even realising it, rushing around, seeing to chores, but for a mindful walk, you want to remain in the moment.

Here’s a few pointers:


  • Choose somewhere where you won’t be disturbed and where you can focus on your walk.


  • Before you set off think about how your body feels and acknowledge the thoughts running through your mind.


  • As you walk, recognise the sensation of the ground beneath your feet and the air on your skin.


  • Notice how you’re breathing. Acknowledge the sights, smells and sounds around you, and how they make you feel.


  • When you’re ready to end your walking meditation, pause and choose a moment to end the practice.

Improve your mental health and gain lasting tools to boost your wellbeing with free online support from NHS Wales. Sign up to SilverCloud here:


Released: 13/05/2024