Let’s Do More Strolling, and Less Scrolling
Posted on August 23, 2023 at 10:00 am | Organizational Development
- 1. verb: to walk in a leisurely way
- 2. noun: a short, leisurely walk
similar: saunter, amble, wander, meander, ramble, dawdle, mosey
There once was a time when people strolled. They ambled, moseyed, meandered. No running, no checking the heart rate monitor. No counting steps. No set schedule, and most likely no set destination. They sauntered down city streets. Wandered through parks. Rambled across fields of wildflowers. Meandered around the neighborhood on a quiet walk after Sunday dinner. There seemed little or no purpose to their strolling.
Except there was a purpose, even if people didn’t recognize it. Strolling is essentially active thinking. Because you’re not focused on one thing (your heart rate, for example) it allows you to become aware of many things, and you begin to notice your surroundings. Strolling engages all our senses…sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste. You might see the flash of a bluebird, smell the aroma from a nearby bakery, hear children laughing in the distance, feel the leathery leaves of an agave plant, or even taste the salt spray from the ocean. Because of the slow pace of a stroll, you actually have time to take in and enjoy those experiences. You get to process the information your senses register, and then your brain has the time to make connections, to see patterns, and to learn.
Ample evidence shows we spend far too much time today scrolling on our computers and on our phones. The constant onslaught of information, notifications, emails, texts, updates and calls simply overwhelms our neural networks. That deluge impairs productivity, creativity, and most important, the restorative power of sleep. We even take the world with us as we move around…a phone and ear buds are now part of our daily routine.
Not long ago, I got overloaded by work issues, family challenges, the state of the world, and about a dozen other things. In frustration, I just dropped my phone on the kitchen counter and went outside for a short walk. Within a few minutes, I realized my head was beginning to clear and I was able to relax and enjoy the sunset. I noticed the sunlight on clouds, the flowers on neighbor’s porches, and the smell of someone’s freshly cut grass. By the time I returned home, those “monster” problems were starting to shrink, and I even had some creative ideas about how they might be solved. I was more relaxed and mentally energized. A simple stroll had shifted things.
If a simple saunter could change things so quickly for me, I’ll bet it can do the same for you. And so, I want to issue a challenge to you this week. Sometime over the next five days, take time for a stroll. All alone, with no agenda. Just let your body and your mind meander, wander and dawdle. Focus on your senses instead of issues. Let your brain do what it does best…just process and think. I’m convinced you’ll be amazed at what pops up.
Holly Hayes, President & Founder