A Chat with Experts about the Therapeutic Benefits of Walking in Nature

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Mary Dallao Tweet Us @WalkArlington@WalkArlington July 1, 2020

Mary Dallao is the Program Manager for WalkArlington. She loves being outdoors and can often be found walking or running on one of Arlington’s beautiful trails.

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Walking and spending time in nature can have therapeutic benefits. We discussed some of these benefits and tangible ideas on how to derive mental health wellness in “A Conversation on Walking Mindfully” event.

WalkArlington was honored to have hosted a panel discussion with the following mental health and wellness professionals who help clients foster emotional well-being through walking and time in nature.


While our conversation covered two distinct but related territories — walk and talk therapy and mindful walking — consistent themes emerged from insights shared by our speakers. Find a recap of the discussion below.

Walking is Good for Your Mental Health

  • Therapy sessions conducted outdoors in nature through walk and talk therapy provide an opportunity for clients to get exercise while enjoying green space and water, which can have a calming effect on the nervous system.
  • Research shows that time in nature can improve a person’s mood and increase creativity.
  • People who have experienced trauma often feel isolated and closed off from others. Participating in a walk and talk therapy session outdoors can be like taking a door off the hinges, enabling a person to open up.
  • Walk and talk therapy provides an opportunity for a person to be visible and develop a sense of belonging.
  • Walking in Nature Can Be Healing

  • Time in nature (and therapy in nature) can teach us about how to be comfortable with things that are uncomfortable, such as walking during bad weather.
  • Combining nature with mindfulness exercises can help us push through anxious thoughts.
  • Using nature imagery, such as putting worrying thoughts on a cloud as it drifts away, can be powerful.
  • When in nature, we can think of trauma as a lightning bolt passing through our bodies to the ground.
  • Being close to the earth can hold us and provide us a space to bury our grief.
  • Walking Mindfully is a Form of Self-Care You Can Practice Anytime, Anywhere

  • Start your mindful walk with no goal, no intention, and no place to be.
  • Walk mindfully wherever you are. You can even practice mindful walking in the short time when walking to your front door after visiting the grocery store. Slow down, be aware, relax, and release.
  • Notice your heightened awareness. Mindfulness is not zoning out. It is creating awareness and a mind tool to keep us present.
  • Watch the Full Conversation

    Did you miss the online event? We recorded the program in its entirety so you can watch the whole discussion and learn from our dynamic panelists at the link below.

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