In my research on entrepreneurial resilience, the most frequently cited approach to solving a problem, relieving stress, and boosting resilience was this: go for a walk.
Study participants were busy women business owners who juggled demanding work and family schedules. One would think the last thing they had time for was go for a stroll! Yet all of those who reported feeling high levels of resilience both personally and in their business had made it a practice to go for a walk at least once during their day.
The physical benefits of walking briskly for 30 minutes or more per day include:
It’s what walk does to your BRAIN that has the biggest impact on resilience.
Resilience Boost #1: Boosting the secretion of dopamine and serotonin (the “happiness hormones”), walking lightens your mood and heightens your creativity. Double points if you can do this in a more serene setting like a park. Research shows walking in nature helps individuals recover from mental exhaustion, resulting in improved performances at difficult tasks.
Back to my research, one research participant with a thriving manufacturing pet accessory business affirmed, “If I need a break and need to calm down and refocus, I just go take a walk in the woods. That’s what keeps me sane; I think it’s nature. Just to get out there, go away from it all in a little while, and just get the energy back.”
Resilience Boost #2: Who says walking has to be a solo endeavour? Increasingly in business circles, “walking meetings” are a thing. One way to take up a problem with an employee or brainstorm with a colleague, have a walking meeting! It helps people unplug from their devices, change the scenery and get all the physical and mental-boosting benefits listed above.
Resilience Boost #3: Another plus for walking is how it can help improve the quality of our sleep. For those of us who ruminate over business problems – especially at night – that can be a big resilience booster.
“Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.” – Gary Snyder
Please share your experiences and thoughts below. Let’s learn from one another and celebrate each other’s successes.
Thanks for reading!