On any given day, my mind rotates through repeating stress factors: work deadlines, bills to pay, car and house repairs, loved ones with health problems, concerns about my severely autistic son’s future.
Finding an off switch for worries seems impossible. A worrywart from early childhood, I have spent decades trying to regulate the flow of anxious thoughts about past, present, future and imagined problems.
Physically engaging activities like exercise and hands-on tasks requiring concentration such as playing a musical instrument or creating art have been shown in studies to distract from anxiety more effectively than endeavors like reading a book, watching a movie, or meditating, though those can help.
The thing that has brought me peace from earliest memories is being active outdoors. Nature’s dazzling displays—brilliant sunrises and sunsets for a start—have an entrancing power that stops my spinning cycle of thoughts. I stare at the sky, and everything except the colorful spectacle above melts from my mind.
If I could bottle and sell the calming force of sunset views, I’d be a billionaire. Though we can’t totally eliminate worry from our lives, we can spend more time focusing on goodness and beauty, which declutters the mind.
May we all find the peaceful magic of the great outdoors as we stumble through life. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is Tennessee Valley Fox Trail, a Marin Headlands trail that offers soft, rolling rises and descents and the opportunity to see sunsets over the Pacific horizon.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 42): Tennessee Valley Fox Trail
Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Browse hikes and photo galleries via the main Hikes page or the Hike Search by Area (was Quick View Hike List) page. Click World Walks to see or share favorite walks from readers! Stay in touch with Lisa Louis and HikingAutism via Contact. The Links page lists a loose collection of helpful information links.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. Please feel free to share, and follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.