What is the power of a morning walk? Even such a simple daily ritual can have profound effects on mood.
After two years working with a young woman who is now heading off to graduate school and bright future, we were reflecting on lessons learned.
“I can be a bit dense about cause and effect. I am surprised when something I do works. I remember getting up early and going out into the light for several days in a row. My whole being felt different. It was such a shift from the despair I was in before. Oh, I can give this to myself, it works to attend to my needs with the kind of deliberateness that I would give to another person, a child or someone I have the impulse to care for.”
She is moving to a Northern European city and we were thinking about challenges she might face…
“Getting up early in the morning, when it is dark, even when I don’t have to, is the main challenge.”
I sometimes am struck by how simple things can be very powerful.
Wrapped up in this one action is a series of things that we know helps improve mood –
- A healthy pleasure. Walking in a beautiful place, around a lake, observing nature with real eagerness.
- Bright morning light.
- Daily exercise.
- Proactivity. Doing something that she knows is good for her.
- Negative ions. She walks near the sea and thus exposes herself to negative ions that have been shown to be have an antidepressant effect.
Sometimes simple things make all the difference.