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The benefits of the silent walk, the latest mindfulness trend

Disconnecting from the world to reconnect with ourselves works?

The benefits of the silent walk, the latest mindfulness trend Disconnecting from the world to reconnect with ourselves works?

We hate being alone. Especially if everything around us is silent. And we do everything we can to prevent that. We keep our AirPods perpetually plugged into our ears while our playlists or some podcast outlines a soundtrack that serves as the backdrop to our daily grind. And if it's not music filling the silence, it's TV series, TikTok videos, voice messages, or a restless rapid switch between content and activities that overstimulate the brain's neural pathways to adapt to our multitasking. It’s not FOMO, it's not sharing. We're not interested in posting, only in the incessant flow of images and sounds that distract us from ourselves. Pressing the off button is scary. After all, who wants to end up wondering if we're happy, if we should keep doing a job we hate, if our partner is cheating on us, how we’ll pay the bills without a decent salary, or if moving to a new city was a good idea? What would happen if, instead, we had the audacity to turn off every device and stay only in the company of our inner self? According to the latest wellness trend, silent walking, we might improve our mental health.

@okdaca I don’t get it… #silentwalk #flowstate @Mady Maio original sound - David Đorđević

What is silent walking?

As the name itself says, a silent walk means walking in silence, alone, without distractions in order to clear the mind. It is an act of mindfulness that allows us to focus on the present, on our emotions, and our senses. As Juanita Guerra - clinical psychologist in New Rochelle, New York - explains: "Silent walking is a simple way to disconnect from all the noise and chaos that are part of our hectic world. It’s an excellent way to connect with our deeper self. Eliminating any distractions makes us more aware of the internal and external environment."

@kybeal_ Sometimes a silent walk with no music is just what I need #hair #fyp #foryoupage #75hard #75hardchallenge #workout Real Love Baby - Father John Misty

From Buddhism to TikTok

The concept of silent walking is not new. Zen Buddhist monks have practiced it for centuries as a form of walking meditation, being among the first to realize its potential beyond just burning a few calories, but helping to relieve stress, increase energy and resilience, encourage concentration and a deeper connection with oneself, making the practitioner feel more grounded. Despite being an ancient (and cost-free) habit, silent walking started to go viral, creating a real community with dedicated hashtags, after TikToker Mady Maio shared some videos where she walked for 30 minutes a day in silence, without distractions like music or podcasts. Extolling its many benefits for mental and physical health, Maio convinced many others to try this experience, finding fertile ground also due to the lockdown which made us aware of how fragile our mental health had become and the need to take care of it.


silent walks are the most grounding

original sound - Arielle Lorre

How to do a silent walk?

Disconnecting to connect only with oneself can be a challenge for many. Therefore, as with any new activity, it is advisable to proceed gradually. For example, starting with very short daily solitary walks, even just a few minutes, five or ten. And gradually increasing the time of our silent walk. The goal should be to reach 30 minutes twice a week. Here are some tips:

  • Walk in a quiet area nearby, where you feel safe, preferably in nature and at a time when we expect there will be few people or activities in that area to distract us.
  • Keep phones and various devices off.
  • Go alone, without friends, siblings, or other humans. The only exception allowed is the dog.
  • Before leaving, take care of primary bodily needs, like thirst and hunger or bathroom needs, so they don't become a distraction.
  • Focus on our sensations, on breathing, and on the surrounding environment.

@samjamessssss having to listen to your inner voice like #torontolife #fyp #silentwalks original sound - samjamess

The benefits of silent walking

Walking is good for you. Doing it in silence amplifies the beneficial effects on mental health, muscles, metabolism, joints, cardiovascular health, sleep, stress, and creativity. It also activates circulation and improves blood pressure, reducing the risks of fat and cholesterol accumulation, and increases our sense of well-being thanks to the release of chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Studies show that even just two minutes of silence significantly reduce heart rate and blood pressure, while noisy environments increase cortisol levels, our stress hormone, making it difficult to concentrate. Another study found that adults who take 90-minute walks in nature manage better with frantic and negative thoughts, have less tendency to ruminate, and more easily find mental peace. Above all, silent walking allows us to reconnect with our mind, creating a space to reflect on our emotions and daily events, and consequently, gives us the opportunity to process them clearly.