Abstract of man walking

Are you feeling a bit anxious, a little down. W&W might help.

We are not talking about deep depression. I am unqualified to comment on anyones depression but my own. You might be feeling blue, a bit down. Everyday anxieties can come in on you and you do not know why.

When this happens to me I turn to W&W. What is this?

The first W stands for walk. Yes the physical benefits of taking a walk can not be underestimated. But the emotional and mental benefits far outweigh the physical.

For my walk, I have mapped out a two mile course through my neighborhood. I follow this course almost everyday. I walk neither too slow nor too fast. I move along at a pace to get my blood pumping and my lungs filling with the crisp morning air.

In these walks, I mentally drift. That is I stay in the "now” and do not allow my mind to go back on past issues or try to perceive what the future may hold. I keep walking and notice all around me. From time to time I stop and gaze upon the clouds or the nearby mountains. In fact cloud watching can be one of the most tranquillizing of pastimes.

What about the second W? Ahhh this stands for: wave. What do we mean by this? By getting to know your neighborhood you can find a busy street where cars are passing. This is where the wave comes in. As car comes towards you, put on your best smile (even if you don’t feel like it). Look at the driver or the passenger and wave. Not a “I am trying to flag you down wave”, but a “I recognize you and a how are you wave”.

Why does this work so well on your on emotional state? At the moment of the wave, we are invoking a bit of ancient wisdom. There is more happiness in giving than in receiving. Think about it.

In that moment when we smile and wave we are giving a small bit of ourselves to another person. We are saying, hey I see you and I appreciate you enough to give you this small token of that appreciation.

When you first start with W&W, preparein your mind and heart. Although you want to extend yourself to the other person, the other person may not show the same reaction. Occasionally, you will get a puzzled stare - “Who is this guy? Do I know him?”. Or you may get no reaction at all. That’s ok. You can only offer the gift and not everyone will accept it.

I have been practicing this almost every day for the past thirty days. In the majority of the waves, I get a return wave. This makes me happy. I continue to oscillate between mental drifting and wave interaction with others.

The wave becomes more important with practice. At that moment when you wave and when the other person responds there is a connection. You and the receiver of your wave are at the same level. Though our experiences of the day may still cause us anxiety. For that lightning moment there is someone who cares and reaches out to you.

This wave can extend itself to other interchanges. As I walk in the morning, I notice others coming out of their houses, hurrying away to work and school. I throw them a wave as well or a “How are you doing this morning?” This in almost all cases leads to simple “Fine and you?” And the response on my part: “It’s a beautiful morning”.

This simple interchange may or may not lead to more discussion. But if it does not, that’s ok. For that brief moment there was connection that can have a positive effect on them and on me.

What do I notice in myself when I practice W&W? That this simple act - walking and then giving a wave, calms my mind. The issues that have caused anxiety or a troubled heart seem to fade. I feel better when I return home and I am more prepared to face my day with a giving heart.