What is the theory behind the worksheet?
The following worksheet is based on a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) approach. This approach combines methods from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and meditative techniques, in order to prevent relapse in recurrent depression (Manjaly & Iglesias, 2020).
How will this worksheet help
This worksheet will help you practice a mindfulness walk, a mindfulness technique known to reduce several psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety and stress (Gotink et al., 2016).
How to use the worksheet
Walking meditation provides a way of remaining mindful even while moving the body, contrary to the sitting meditation. Walking helps focus and center the mind through the action of striding. The eyes are downcast and not focusing on anything. They are not searching or fixed on the environment – it’s a soft focus. Give yourself 10-15 minutes of walking time.
You can set up a timer so you don’t get distracted by watching the clock. Start by noticing how your body feels each step. Then, expand your awareness to your surroundings. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Feel?
You can do this technique daily, when walking to the car, to the store, to the office, helping you regulate emotions, ground a client’s arousal and help move the body into more awareness.
Mindfulness walk worksheet
See the expanded instructions below and reflect on what you noticed in your body before and after the walk:
➢ Start with your standing posture.
➢ Notice your back – straight, but relaxed.
➢ Feel your feet on the ground and connected with the earth. Inhale deeply and center yourself first.
➢ You are walking, but you are not “getting anywhere”. If you are in a small space, walk back and forth. Adjust your stride to where you are walking.
➢ Cast your eyes downward in front of you, have a soft and receptive gaze. Make sure your posture stays upright and “regal” even as your eyes are downcast.
➢ Take one step at a time and become aware of how you place your foot each time.
➢ Each step, each foot movement touching the earth, is your practice of mindfulness.
➢ Let the breath be normal and flowing. You can synchronize it with your step, but it is best to have your breath be free.
➢ Notice your thoughts and let them go when they arise, gently label them, e.g. “hello, thought/my friend”. Then return to your breath and to your walking.
➢ Make slow, deliberate walking motions. Make sure you have your full attention on your body. If not, you might end up walking too slow or fast.
➢ Get into a rhythm: lift your foot, step forward, shift your weight. Repeat this order.
➢ Stay close to your moving body, empty your thoughts and be with your walking body.
➢ After the time is up, stand up for a moment. Close your eyes and notice your body.
Before my walking meditation, I noticed in my body:
After my walking meditation, I noticed in my body:
Gotink, R. A., Hermans, K. S. F. M., Geschwind, N., De Nooij, R., De Groot, W. T., & Speckens, A. E. M. (2016). Mindfulness and mood stimulate each other in an upward spiral: a mindful walking intervention using experience sampling. Mindfulness, 7(5), 1114–1122. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0550-8
Manjaly, Z.-M., & Iglesias, S. (2020). A Computational Theory of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy from the “Bayesian Brain” Perspective. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00404
You can download this worksheet here.