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Give Your Brain a Break: Take a Wow Walk

Updated: May 26, 2022

We are tired, stressed and overwhelmed with everything that is happening around us. Take a Brain Break. Take a Wow Walk. A Wow Walk is when you go out for a walk and find something that makes your brain say, Wow. Literally, it's a stop and smell the roses kind of walk. If you go all in, the experience offers an antidote, albeit temporary, for the angst, pressure, or malaise you may be feeling. I experienced my first Wow Walk by accident. I don’t know what made me stop one day while on a walk and look up, but my reward was huge. Above me was an amazing sky-painting of sunset colors with wild strokes of white clouds. Wow.

The sense of wonder I felt profoundly boosted my mood.

In the past if you met me on a stroll, you’d see me with my head down, carefully navigating treacherous sidewalks while listening to a podcast or book on tape. Now, however, no more earbuds for me. My experience with the sky-painting changed all that. My walks now are for feeding my soul. (For self preservation, I still pay attention to cracked sidewalks.)

Wow Walks are intentional yet unpredictable. They provide many of the benefits that come from promoting well-being.

  • Mindfulness and being present

  • Gratitude

  • Wonder and curiosity

  • Engagement of all 4 senses

  • Comfort and calmness

Give yourself a gift and go for a Wow Walk.

Stop to watch bees buzz around bottlebrush trees, Wow

Look through a hole in the fence to see the new construction, Wow

Stop, close your eyes and listen to all the incredible sounds, Wow.

I once saw UPS, Amazon, FedEx and USPS trucks on the same street at the same time, Wow.

Kids are the best Wow Walkers. So much of what we don’t notice anymore is new to them. Assign kids to be your Wow Guide. Use their curiosity and active sense of wonder to point out what you miss.

Once you get the hang of it, you can be their Wow Guide, too.

  • Take them outside after a rain shower to look for a rainbow. Or if you are in dry Southern California, like me, look for a rainbow in the lawn sprinklers.

  • My kids and I used to go on a Worm Walk after it rained. You know how earthworms come out of the ground when the earth fills with water? You see them squiggling around on the sidewalk, trying to get back in and if they don’t, the sun will dry them out. Well, we would “rescue” the worms after it rained, by picking them up and placing them safely in the dirt. Wow, so many worms were saved.

  • Bring a bag along for when you discover shiny pebbles or colorful leaves.

  • Notice if your shadows get shorter or longer as you walk.

  • Follow the line of ants to see where it goes. Look closely.

  • How many different bird calls do you hear?

A Wow Walk gives your worried brain a full-fledged break. You don’t think about your pressures if you are focused on the cloud shapes or the squirrels chasing each other up a tree. You deserve some peace.

For more ideas on Wow Walks for kids, see ideas below.

Fibonacci is an infinite sequence of numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…) that appears in nature. See, for example, the number of petals on the various flowers pictured here.

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