How Hiking Can Be a Spiritual Experience

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In books, we often read about people finding their true selves while wandering about in nature. Think of Camino de Santiago or the Temple Pilgrimage in Japan. People from all over the world embark on these difficult and long hikes to improve their mental and physical well being.

If you are trying to let go of the past, make a big life decision, or just introspect, going on a hike can give you the spiritual experience you have been looking for.

Why does hiking seem to have such a positive effect on us?

We’ve all experienced feeling uplifted and relaxed after going for a stroll in the park. In fact, being around nature generally seems to improve our wellbeing.

The effects of nature are a widely researched subject in environmental psychology.  Most studies have shown that we have an affinity towards nature and it greatly affects us.

People who spend time outdoors feel more relaxed, focused, and optimistic. As such hiking has increased benefits and can help open our minds to spiritual experiences along the way.

Here are some of the top reasons to go hiking

It improves your physical health.

Brad Barmore | Unsplash

Hiking is great for you; you are out and about, walking for long periods at a time without straining your muscles too much and you get to de-stress. Hiking in different altitudes and surfaces will also strengthen the muscles we tend to ignore in daily life. You can improve your balance, coordination, and endurance on a hike.

A day of hiking may leave you feeling tired, but it will make you relaxed and happy. Physical wellbeing is the foundation for your mental and spiritual well being.

It improves your mental health.

Felix Rostig | Unsplash

A good hike means getting more vitamin D, which most of the population lacks. It is the best way to naturally improve your mood as the exercise releases endorphins – the hormones that make you ‘happy.’ It will help you let go of any pent-up feelings or emotional baggage that you carry around in your daily life.

Studies have also shown that hiking helps restore focus. Out in nature, we are surrounded by “soft fascinations” such as leaves swaying in a breeze, flickering sunlight, and greenery to uplift the mood.

Oftentimes we struggle to focus on good moments. Most of us have become accustomed to reactively respond to stressful situations. Hiking can help get us out of that rut and teach us to be more optimistic.

Related Article: The Positive Mental Effects of Hiking

It allows for self-reflection.

DND | Pexels

With our body and mind at ease, we find ourselves in a rare state of calm. When we are out hiking all our daily distractions disappear. We have a chance to think about the big picture of life and reflect on what it truly means to us. We have a chance to reconnect with our soul.

Hiking helps people discover that things usually pulling them down in life are completely irrelevant. If you decide to embark on a hike, you may just come out of the experience with new mindfulness and discover more of yourself, spiritually and physically, in the process.


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