Make Time for Walks During Mental Health Awareness Month 2024

May 14, 2024

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Every year during the month of May, we join together in a national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Together, we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support the millions of people in the U.S. affected by mental illness.

Walking is often considered one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some ways to make walking work for you.

  1. Mindful Walking: Instead of rushing, focus on each step, feeling the ground beneath your feet and the movement of your body. Pay attention to your breath as you walk. Mindful walking can help bring your awareness to the present moment, reducing stress and anxiety.
  2. Nature Walks: Take your walk outdoors, preferably in a natural setting like a park, forest, or along a beach. Being surrounded by nature can have a calming effect on the mind and body, reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.
  3. Slow Down: Resist the urge to walk quickly or briskly. Instead, slow down your pace and take your time. Walking at a slower pace can help you relax and enjoy the experience, rather than viewing it as just another task to rush through.
  4. Deep Breathing: Incorporate deep breathing exercises into your walk. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Deep breathing can help activate the body's relaxation response and reduce stress levels.
  5. Leave Your Devices Behind: Consider leaving your phone or other electronic devices behind during your walk, or at least put them on silent mode. Disconnecting from technology can help you fully immerse yourself in the present moment and reduce distractions, leading to a more peaceful and stress-free walk.

To find out more, about Mental Health Awareness Month, click here.

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