Nestled in the heart of my brownstone-laden neighborhood is a bird sanctuary that I visit every day on my walks. It’s home to a remarkable array of wildlife, like turtles, geese, a blue heron, and even a badger. On my daily loop around the pond, I notice the small changes—have the ducklings hatched yet? Are those new buds on the dogwood tree? This peaceful interlude gives me a much-needed respite from my inbox—and from the buzz of living in a city.
As a writer who works from home, these walks are an essential part of my creative routine. The movement means I feel instead of think, giving my ideas the space to percolate. I know I’m not the only one to follow this practice—Charles Dickens walked up to thirty miles a day, and even Beethoven depended on a long saunter to clear his mind.
This instinct to step outside and wander through the neighborhood is also recognized by the scientific community. Researchers at Stanford Universityfound that during and after a short jaunt, we’re naturally more creative. Walking, it turns out, is integral to originality, giving our imagination a moment to cultivate spontaneous ideas. It also naturally decreases stress and boosts mental health without a big paycheck or time commitment.
This spring, compliment your daily routine with a simple promise to take a walk every day. Whether for five minutes or fifty-five minutes, this restorative practice can anchor your day in wellness and free your mind to imagine your next great idea.