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Enjoy this excerpt from...

100 Easy Ways to Relieve Stress, Stay Motivated,
and Nourish Your Soul

by Mary H. Frakes

There's Always Something

I began doing MindWalks to get in shape. Consistency in working out had never been my strong point, and walking was no exception; in the mornings, I often looked for any excuse to stay in bed and avoid exercise. But after a month or so I realized that every time I managed to get out, I had at least one experience during my walk that made me glad I had put on my shoes.

Sometimes it was a gorgeous view I had never noticed. Sometimes it was two colors that intensified each other in a particular light, the way a robin's-egg sky enriches the yellow of backlit sunflowers. Sometimes it was the first daffodil of the year, or the scent of lilacs by a fence, or a clean, crisp bird's feather. I learned to anticipate that day's discovery, to watch for things I would not have seen otherwise. That anticipation became the motivator for my whole walking program, a game I played with myself. It's been several years since I began expecting one special thing from each walk; not once have I been disappointed.

MindWalks are about discovery. Even if your route never varies, becoming truly aware of your surroundings turns every venture outdoors into an exploration. Seasons rotate, bringing with them new foliage that buds out, then blooms, then fades as you check on it daily. The weather changes its mind. The sun rises at a slightly different time and alters how the lights hits everything you see. The same old stuff? Only if you don't pay attention.

One of my favorite MindWalk moments came one day when I was resting on a bench, gazing across a river bordered by a jogging trail. I idly watched as a young girl came jogging down the path in front of me, her hair slicked back into a ponytail. Not an unusual sight - except for the parakeet perched atop her head like a hood ornament.

This was clearly a routine for both of them; just as they crossed in front of me, he hopped down to cling to her ponytail as if it were a branch. On they jogged, the bird bob-bob-bobbing along with her every stride. It became an unforgettable mental snapshot.

Granted, you're not going to see a hitchhiking parakeet every day. But looking for something special on each walk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you resolve to find one experience each day that makes you glad you got outdoors, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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