Discover Yourself Health & Wellness

What is Gratitude Walking?

June 13, 2018

Gratitude Walking – have you heard of it?  As someone who has written many times about the benefits of daily movement such as a brisk walk, I had never heard the term Gratitude Walking until this week.

I’ve recently started an online 8 week Whole Body Makeover with Jannine Murray, a personal trainer from Victoria, BC with 12 years experience as a personal trainer based on a holistic approach and with the emphasis on loving and accepting who you are now.  I will be writing about my learnings over the next few months but today I wanted to discuss ‘Gratitude Walking’.

Walking seems to be a theme for me this week, as after I watched the video about Gratitude Walking I also read about Walking to help our creativity in the book ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron. 

Learning about these two approaches to walking, confirmed for me that I am on the right track (no pun intended), when I write that walking (or any movement) not only helps us physically but it is vital for good mental health and well-being.

What is Gratitude Walking?

It is what it says – walking with gratitude.  This means taking at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour, each day to get out into nature and reflect on all that you are grateful for as you walk.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

I know that some people find journaling their gratitude or thinking about what they are grateful for each morning when they wake, is the best way for them to make gratitude a priority in their lives.

I’ve tried journaling but just can’t get into it.  Yet, Gratitude Walking is perfect for me as I enjoy being active and getting out into the fresh air.

The concept is that as you ‘breathe in’ you are taking in the essence of gratitude – what you are grateful for at that moment.  When you ‘exhale’ you are expelling anything that doesn’t align with your thoughts about gratitude.

Most people don’t take the time to breathe deeply if they are stressed.  Their breath is short and shallow.  By concentrating on breathing deeply with a focus on gratitude, your stresses start to ease away

As you walk, start with concentrating your feeling grateful for your body and your life and feel how your body responds to each step.

Benefits of Gratitude Walking

  • Walking in nature drops the stress hormone, Cortisol within just 20 minutes.
  • You can find peace, clarity, space, inspiration and happiness during your Gratitude Walk
  • Improves your state of being by helping you become more present, finding your intention for the day, enjoying nature and the benefits of spaciousness and uplifts your spirit.

Walking for creativity

”One of the most valuable creativity tools is also the simplest. I am talking about walking.  I have learned that walking quells anxiety and allows creativity to bubble to the surface” – Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way for Retirement.

The second time this week I read about the benefits of walking was when I started reading The Artist’s Way for Retirement by Julia Cameron.  I have heard of this author and her teachings when reading blogs from Pam from Retirement Transition, Karen at Profound Journey and Molly Totoro.  After getting the ‘message’ from these three inspiring bloggers, I thought I would check out what Julia had to say and purchased the book through Amazon.

Julia teaches that we can become creative as we walk because we begin to notice what is around us and make new connections on our daily walk.  Walking enables us to think, meditate and often is the easiest way to solve the problems of daily living.  As she writes:

‘We may walk out with a problem, but the odds are excellent that we will walk back in with a solution.’

How to walk for creativity or problem solving

Julia suggests walking at least twice a week for 20 minutes ALONE.  That means no partner, pet, friend or mobile phone – just YOU.

During this 20 minute walk you will have the opportunity to open a space in your mind for ideas or to bring clarity to an issue you might be experiencing and need to solve.  Being on your own allows you to listen to yourself and your thoughts.

Time to lace up and start walking for gratitude and creativity!

Do you walk daily?  Do you make time to focus on gratitude?  Why not combine the two and be healthy and happy in mind, body and soul?


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  • Reply Donna McNicol June 13, 2018 at 06:56

    What a wonderful post – just HAD to share it everywhere!!

    #MLSTL visitor (shared on SM)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 06:57

      Oh thank you so much Donna, I’m pleased you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing. Have a beautiful day (although it is probably evening now for you). xx

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb June 13, 2018 at 08:24

    Great reminders Sue! I practice all three from time to time — gratitude, creativity, and problem-solving and can say from experience they work!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 08:27

      Hi Janet, yes it isn’t rocket science but sometimes the simplest things just work! Have a great day xx

  • Reply Miriam June 13, 2018 at 09:10

    No pet? Harry would not be impressed if I left the house without him. But in all seriousness, I see the benefits of this. Walking is wonderful, I always feel better after I’ve returned from my morning stroll. The Artists Way is such a fabulous book. xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 14, 2018 at 09:49

      Yes I don’t see a problem with taking your pet, but I suppose it is a time just to focus on ourselves. I went for a stroll this morning and just soaked up the beautiful day. Have a lovely weekend, Miriam and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Natalie June 13, 2018 at 11:12

    Great post, Sue! I agreed with all the benefits you listed. I do gratitude walking with deep breathing every morning. I also call it walking meditation. I usually think of three things that I’m grateful for. I love my walks. Have a beautiful day!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 13:59

      It seems such a logical thing to do Natalie and I’d never really thought about it. I suppose many of us already do this but I found it a great reminder. Have a great week xx

  • Reply Donna June 13, 2018 at 13:09

    Hi, Sue – Although I believe that I practice the basics of ‘Gratitude Walking’ on a regular basis, I had never heard it called that. I also hadn’t read about the science behind it. Thank you so much for sharing this — I can’t wait to experiment with Gratitude Walking more fully!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 14:01

      I hadn’t heard of Gratitude Walking before Donna but it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I’m trying to explore it more and it can only be beneficial to me. Have a great day! xx

  • Reply Trisha Faye June 13, 2018 at 13:14

    I just love this – combining two activities I greatly love!
    Sharing on FB & Twitter for #MLSTL.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 14:02

      Thanks for sharing Trisha Faye and great to have you link up to #MLSTL. Have a great day! xx

  • Reply Leanne | June 13, 2018 at 13:42

    When I was going through a difficult time a few years ago, I’d go for long walks just to clear my head and distance myself from the stress. Now I use my daily walk as my time to pray – it’s where I give thanks, it’s where I remember the needs of others and at the end I just appreciate the beauty of Creation. It’s such a great time to let the day to day stuff take a back seat and just enjoy being in the moment. I never take my phone and I walk alone – both help me stay in a quiet space (other than saying Hi to the occasional fellow walker).

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 14:04

      Your walks sound like the perfect way to start the day Leanne. I don’t often walk alone but I’m going to try and incorporate it into my day. I love that you appreciate the beauty of Creation. I think about this when I’m running at sunrise or sunset. So much to be grateful for. xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones June 13, 2018 at 15:39

    Sue I had never heard of the term Gratitude walking Until I read your post. But I do seem to practice it a bit in my own way, when out walking. Also walking for me is the perfect way to problem solve. Very much looking forward to your posts about the Whole Body Makeover. I do love these online challenges

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 13, 2018 at 16:41

      Hi Jennifer, yes I think most of us actually do Gratitude Walking in our own way but didn’t realise it had a name. Yes the Whole Body Makeover is over 8 weeks and it is more a reminder to me of eating well, giving me some fresh ideas for workouts 9which will help with my training for my long runs coming up) and also self-love. I’m enjoying it much more than Mindful in May that is for sure. xx

  • Reply A.J. Sefton June 13, 2018 at 18:08

    Here’s my new regime!

  • Reply Candi Randolph June 13, 2018 at 20:47

    I am a walker, and find it relaxing and a real stress reliever. This is a bit different, though…to align breathing with thoughts of gratitude. I’m not a journal person, either, so this makes a lot of sense. I think I’ll take myself out for a gratitude walk today. 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 14, 2018 at 09:38

      I found it interesting Candi and wondered why I hadn’t actually done this type of walking before. I did one this morning and it worked! xx

  • Reply Joanne Sisco June 13, 2018 at 22:22

    Although I didn’t know Gratitude/Creative Walking was a ‘thing’, I’ve certainly experienced it … the ability to let go of a problem or develop a solution while out walking. Almost all of my walking is done alone – but with a camera – and I always come back energized.

    What’s interesting is that I don’t experience the same thing cycling or running, although I know my husband does. He often comes back bursting with his thoughts and ideas. For me, I guess I’m too busy focusing on not dying ?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 14, 2018 at 09:42

      Hi Joanne, I think most of us feel that way, we just hadn’t heard the term before. I envy you with your camera. Photography is not my forte although I do try. I can relate to how your husband feels. I feel that way when I run. It really spurs me on as I think about all things and usually if it is blogging I can get some great ideas. The problem is if the run is too long, I can tend to forget my ‘great ideas’ LOL:) Have a beautiful day xx

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl June 14, 2018 at 12:30

    Such a great idea, Sue! Definitely need to try this for myself.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 15, 2018 at 07:55

      Yes it seems logical when you read the term, doesn’t it SSG? Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Min@WriteoftheMiddle June 14, 2018 at 13:50

    Wow Sue – Blogging every day for the A-Z challenge in April, Mindful in May challenge in May and now an 8 Week Whole Body Makeover! You sure do like to keep busy! Lol Good for you! I’ll be very interested to hear more about what you learn. As for gratitude – I’m a huge believer that making an effort to find things we are grateful for makes a huge difference to our state of minds and quality of life. I can’t get into journaling either, but enjoyed doing a 365 Grateful Project where I took a photograph every day for 365 days of something I was grateful for. I gained so much from that project! Gratitude walking is a beautiful concept. In fact I do it and I will be doing it this afternoon when I go on my walk. I love to focus on sensations – breeze, sunshine etc and sounds, birds, the lapping sounds of the water. I also notice the colours in the sky, the shimmer on the water, the rustling of the leaves in the trees, the sounds of children laughing etc. I believe that my years of interest in mindfulness have really started to work so that I now naturally notice these t hings. I love the concept too of breathing IN gratitude and breathing OUT those things that don’t serve us. Another wonderful post Sue! xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 15, 2018 at 07:57

      I can’t help myself Min, that is just my personality. I need to have something to work towards. I found that the idea of Gratitude Walking suited me perfectly as journalling just doesn’t do it for me. I love the description you have given of what you notice and I will be following your guidance on my walks. I like the concept of breathing IN gratitude and breathing OUT the things that don’t serve us. Sometimes it can sound weird but it does work. Good luck with the kitchen and have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Kathy Marris June 14, 2018 at 15:31

    It looks like you and I are on the same page this week Sue. Walking is a huge part of my therapy and escapism. I walk almost every morning alone with my dog and this is my time to get my head straight, look for the positives by noticing the beauty surrounding me and planning for the busy day ahead. I always make time for this as this an integral part of keeping myself relaxed and de-stressed. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 15, 2018 at 08:17

      HI Kathy, it is the noticing what is around us that I think is important. I know I can’t get that from running. Going for a walk and absorbing our surroundings and finding the positive, as you say is a great way to start the morning. You are certainly doing ‘Gratitude Walking’ xx

  • Reply Deborah June 14, 2018 at 17:49

    It sounds intriguing but makes sense. I’m conscious I used to listen to music when I walked (or podcasts) but occasionally when I forgot to take my phone I’d be forced to be ‘present’ while on the walk and guess that’s the point of gratitude walking – actually not allowing yourself to get sidetracked by other stuff. Also focussing one’s thoughts on positive stuff makes sense! #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 15, 2018 at 08:18

      Sometimes we have to be forced into being ‘present’ don’t we Deb? I know that my mind can easily jump ahead to what is happening in the day and I have to almost physically make myself be in the moment. x

  • Reply Molly June 15, 2018 at 05:03

    I know the benefits of daily walking and gratitude journaling – but I never thought of combining the two. I really LOVE this idea – and just as soon as the temperatures subside (today the heat index is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit)… I plan to put this into action.
    I’m so glad you are enjoying “It’s Never Too Late…” and Julia Cameron’s suggestions for creative living 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 15, 2018 at 08:25

      Yes I loved the idea when I heard the term, Molly. I’m not very good at journalling so this would be perfect for me. Yes, “It’s Never Too Late” is wonderful to read and I was pleasantly surprised when I read some points that I have written about previously on my blog. It makes me feel that I’m on the right track! Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Janis June 16, 2018 at 09:53

    I love to walk, whether alone, with my husband, or with a friend. Each experience is different and comes with its own benefits: walking alone allows me to meditate on my own thoughts (and gratitudes), walking with my husband gives us an uninterrupted hour to talk about plans, work out issues, or just be together, and, of course, walking with a friend is a great way to catch up while getting some exercise.

    Funny, I’m currently reading The Artist’s Way (a book I’ve wanted to re-read for a while), which I happily found in a friend’s bookshelf. Now I’m thrilled to know about The Artist’s Way for Retirement… it is definitely on my to-read list(or, maybe her It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again… which appears to be similar)!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 17, 2018 at 05:40

      Hi Janis, I think you have explained how I feel. My husband and I went for a walk the other day together and I was lovely just to take the time to chat. I have my Saturday Sisters who I run with twice a week and that brings friendship, support and encouragement. Walking alone does give me time to think and ponder. So you are right about the different experiences connected with walking. I haven’t read the original Artist’s Way but I believe she covers some of the same points. It is a wonderful series and I’m pleased to have discovered it. Have a beautiful day and thanks so much for stopping by xx

  • Reply Heather Erickson June 18, 2018 at 02:09

    I love Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way, and Gratitude Walking. My husband and I both do this, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Each has its own rhythm. I don’t know how well it works if you try it with someone you aren’t super close to, but because our lives are so intertwined, there are things that we are grateful for as a couple. Focusing on those things as we walk together is great. Doing this solo is also important because there are things that we are grateful for as individuals that we can focus on as we walk around the local pond on our own. Great post, Sue!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 18, 2018 at 08:05

      Hello Heather and it is lovely to hear from you. I have only recently discovered Julia Cameron and her books but they make perfect sense to me and I’m delighted that I’m actually already doing some of the things she suggests. I think that you can still express gratitude walking with your husband or a friend as well as a walk solo. It is all about being grateful isn’t it? I find lately I’m soaking up so much more of my surroundings during my walk and being grateful for having such beautiful places to walk and enjoy. Have a beautiful week and thanks again for stopping by x

  • Reply Alice June 18, 2018 at 23:26

    Oh, walks are my favorite time! I like this moment and now I know that I’m doing it right 🙂 I have not read Julia Cameron’s book, but now I’m definitely reading it. I think I’ll find a lot of interesting things for myself.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:32

      Hi Alice and thanks for visiting! I’m sure you would enjoy the book as I am finding it very helpful. I think we all actually do gratitude walking we just haven’t ever put a name to it. Have a lovely day and hope you visit again. x

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski June 19, 2018 at 05:02

    I walk every day. I just did about 6 miles this morning and love it. I always walk alone without earplugs and just take in the scenery. I usually repeat some affirmations but adding the gratitude element with breaths is a great idea. Glad to hear it reduces cortisol because I still have belly fat to lose.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:46

      Walking is certainly under-rated Rebecca and we can gain so much from this simple exercise. Taking in the scenery is so relaxing and takes our minds away from day-to-day life for a little while. Enjoy! xx

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit June 19, 2018 at 07:48

    This is the second time I’ve heard the term “Gratitude Walking” in a week. Is that possible? Did I dream it?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:49

      Hi Leanne, I hadn’t heard of it before and then I read it in two different places in a matter of days. Maybe it is the universe talking to us 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer June 19, 2018 at 09:00

    I’ve not heard of gratitude walking, but I’ve done walking meditations before. My husband and I keep a gratitude jar. We write about what we are grateful for onto slips of paper, fold them up and put them in the jar. On New Year’s Eve, we take out the slips and read through them. And then start the year again on New Year’s Day.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:53

      Hi Jennifer, I remember reading about your gratitude jar and it is a great idea. I tried that last year. Such a lovely way to spend New Year’s Eve and a great reminder of all we have in our lives. xx

  • Reply Sandra Taylor June 23, 2018 at 16:11

    no never heard this term before either. I used to walk daily in the forest – and most of my blogs came out of this space, I do find it does all those things mentioned and more. like writing walking has the capacity to heal our fractured selves destress us enable us to become more present. Now I am in a village I have not been so keen but still manage with daughter pram and baby a few times a week. yes alone is best for precisely all those reasons you mentioned but walking in company has its own place as well. I do admire your attitude on life sue, I dont feel I have that get up and go that you enjoy but I am certainly inspired to lift my game – and heading out the door now into late afternoon sunshine on the beautiful south east coast of NSW – alone …

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