1. Kathy
    Kathy August 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Fantastic post….and this is not a “new age” concept at all (I shy away from that too). There have been numerous medical studies which indicate “mindfulness” (or as I call it, just being still) not only has emotional benefits, but physical ones as well. Evidently, like our bodies need rest after exertion, our brains do too. Compared to traditional psychiatric and medicine based treatments (with limited results) available for PTSD, mindfulness has an astronomical success rate.

    I always wondered why I enjoy backpacking alone so much, and never really understood until I started practicing mindfulness. The simplicity, quiet, and just being “unplugged” is what makes me happy.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Carol
    Carol August 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Wonderful post – and very appropriate. You might enjoy reading books by Jon Kabat-Zinn, about mindfulness meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction. Although I don’t meditate daily, I find it so helpful at various times (waiting in line, sitting on a plane, or trying to get back to sleep at night). I have become much more aware of my surroundings and enjoy the peak times – like our JMT hike or just going for a run out my door – without headphones! As Kabat-Zinn notes, we are often either rehearsing for the future or rehashing the past rather than being in the moment and actually living our lives.

  3. Cole
    Cole August 12, 2015 at 2:10 am

    It has been known for years that even a short stroll in the park can relax you, & help you work through your problems, Great physical, & mental health rewards. A longer walk like backpacking is ideal! When I was backpacking the TYT in 2002 is when I noticed the rewards, & then again in 2006 when I backpacked through Glacier into Waterton International Peace Park. Just walking & seeing Nature in full bloom not in a website or book calms you, & you can actually think things out since you do not have all the distractions!

  4. Bob
    Bob August 12, 2015 at 9:43 am

    You might also enjoy “How to Walk” by Thich Nhat Hanh as another approach to walking meditation and mindfulness. The whole book takes about as long to read as two meditation sessions.

  5. Karen
    Karen August 13, 2015 at 10:29 am

    I have to echo the recommendation for books by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He and his wife wrote one on parenting, which was the most useful parenting book ever – far better than the “how to” ones. I need to get back to meditation…been away from it for a few years for a variety of reasons.

    I think if something went wrong in the back country this could be a very helpful technique to prevent panic and help you think more clearly and carefully about the choices available, perhaps leading to a better outcome.

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