The outbreak of Covid-19 has brought huge distress and uncertainty to our lives. According to WHO, more than 264 million people of different ages are suffering from depression. This rate has increased majorly due to this unexpected interruption of our regular life by the coronavirus. It has harmed us both physically and mentally. There is a sense of insecurity and vulnerability among all the individuals.
While everyone is worried about the physical damage, people are less expressive about the mental and emotional damage. On one hand, people feel blessed for being alive but the next moment they end up mourning for the loved ones they have lost.
Because of all these sufferings, one doesn’t feel like taking action or measures to get themselves out of this phase. This could be the reason why many people are passive at home, work, and in the family.
How we all are fighting against this virus by wearing masks, similarly we can fight mental stress by walking. Yes, it may sound simple and easy but it’s sufficient and efficient as well.
1. Boosts your Creative Thinking
Many researchers have proved that walking enhances the creative output of a person by almost 60%.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
That is one of the main reasons why many successful people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs are known to conduct walking meetings.
As studied by Marc Berman, the place where an individual walks also matters in thinking. According to him, urban and pastoral walks offer different thoughts. Although, Covid-19 doesn’t permit to walk outside our homes but walking on terrace, garden area could be helpful.
Oppezzo and Schwartz concluded that walking helps in strengthening the divergent element rather than a focused or convergent element of creative thinking. It means that not every problem could be solved by walking but a new perspective or idea can be gained by simple walking.
2. Enhances your Memory and Attention
When experiments were conducted to test for the memory and attention of a person, the results showed better performances of people who attempted tests after some walking or minimal physical work than people with no physical work.
“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.” – George Macauley Trevelyan
This happens as walking increases the connections between brain cells as well as the volume of the hippocampus. It also increases the levels of molecules that help in new neural connections and also the transmission of messages.
3. Lowers Risk of Depression
Depression brings undesirable characteristics like insomnia, appetite imbalance, anxiousness, fear, pains, helplessness, and hopelessness among the individuals. There is no motivation left among depressed people to do any kind of physical work.
“Walking brings me back to myself.” – Laurette Mortimer
With some effort, if they decide to get up and move a bit every day, they can see the difference. Starting with 5 minutes of walk or any other exercise and move to 10 minutes, then to 15, will help them feel better and relieved.
Depressed people have a small size hippocampus region which can be increased by walking. Also, physical work helps in the release of natural brain chemicals which makes the person feel better.
It’s not a one-day practice but something you need to stick by to see the effects for yourself. So, it’s better to pick something you can continue for longer.
4. More blood supply to your body cells
“Walking gets the feet moving, the blood moving, the mind moving.” – Terri Guillemets
When you do simple walking, there is an increase in the blood and oxygen supply in the body, allowing your lungs, heart, and muscles to function properly.
This in turn will help in the transportation of white blood cells which will protect you from infections and other potential diseases. Proficient circulation will also help in the removal of waste materials from your body.
5. Organizes your surroundings
Just like writing helps in organizing thoughts, walking helps in organizing the world around you. You observe, find connections, and finally can take actions on the same which includes writing.
Similarly, when you walk, you get a better understanding of the world around you, find relevancy which can help you make better life decisions.
“I love walking because it clears your mind, enriches the soul, takes away stress and opens up your eyes to a whole new world.” – Claudette Dudley
The way you move your body affects the nature of your thoughts and vice versa. And walking doesn’t need much consciousness which is why your mind can wander freely and help you gain better worldly insights.
It’s your time to decide.
It’s difficult to deal with the current stress and panic but it’s not impossible. By taking these few simple measures we together can save lives and try to rebuild a positive and safe society.
It may take time to get rid of the virus from our surroundings but at least we can get it rid of our minds. Let’s all together decide to take care of our mental health and spread the positive vibes which can help us deal better with the current life changes.
“Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate. The world wasn’t formed in a day, and neither were we. Set small goals and build upon them.” – Lee Haney
The author of this article is Ms. Meenal Gupta. She is an educator by profession and also a psychology student. She writes to express her thoughts to make a difference in the society.