Why You Should Take a Turtle for a Walk Today

A mindfulness ‘hack' that could change your life.

We all have coping mechanisms that help us get through life. Some are healthy – most look more like addiction.

We’re addicted to our phones. Caffeine. Sugar. Achievement.

Yup, achievement. 

Achievement addiction can look like…

  • Feeling like you have to be “on” and available 24/7
  • Your identity is tied to your success 
  • No matter how much you do or how much you achieve, it’s never enough
  • You struggle to relax and detach from work, even on vacation 
  • You’re terrible at delegating and letting someone else take the lead so you end up taking on way too much

Sound familiar?

The twin sister to achievement addiction is busyness addiction.

It’s when you feel like you have to stay busy 24/7 because you get an uncomfortable feeling when you try to sit and relax. You can’t even just watch Netflix, you have to watch Netflix WHILE scrolling your phone.

Your brain and hands have to be busy all the time because it’s just too damn uncomfortable to sit with your thoughts. To sit with uncertainty. To sit with your emotions.

A mindfulness practice is a great way to get more comfortable with sitting with your thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness is as simple as using your 5 senses to ground yourself in the present moment. Here’s how I like to do it, in a comfortable, seated position…

Take 3 deep breaths, making sure to extend the exhale. I actually like to begin with my eyes closed. Tune into each of your 5 senses, one at a time.

Even with your eyes closed – what can you see? Maybe some sunshine through your closed lids or the ghost of what you last saw?

What can you hear? Take a deep breath – what can you smell?

Taste? Maybe your morning coffee or the mintiness of your toothpaste?

What do you feel? Aches and pains, the feel of your clothes on your skin, the chair beneath you – notice it all.

After you feel into each sense one at a time, try to hold all 5 senses together at once –sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Can you be with all of it for a minute or two?

Now open your eyes and use your sense of sight to anchor yourself back into the room.

I find that mindfulness can be intense at times as a highly sensitive person, yet deeply relaxing as well when I realize how much control I have over how much I take in.

Another version of this practice that I love to do is a walking mindfulness practice. Instead of rushing off to the next place, the next time you’re out walking, use your 5 senses to really be present to your surroundings. You’ll be amazed at what you notice!

Overwhelmed? Here's why you should take a turtle for a walk today.

Love the idea of a mindfulness practice but can’t seem to remember to do it?

I hear you, I struggled with that too – until I learned a funny little historical fact. Apparently, in the 1800s in Paris, it was fashionable at one point to take a turtle to the park for a walk. It was an attempt to slow down and appreciate the moment – a.k.a. It was a mindfulness practice.

Something about the mental image of taking a turtle for a walk – perhaps on a leash, me taking baby steps through the park behind the turtle, is hysterical to me. LOL 

How does this help? I started adding ‘walk the turtle’ to my to-do list. It’s a great visual that never fails to make me smile, it’s more fun than seeing ‘be mindful’ on my list and therefore I am more likely to actually do it. (NO TURTLE REQUIRED.)

Try it out and let me know how it goes!

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