Summer in Lake Louise, and for most of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, is a very popular season. International travelers flock to the edges of our glacier waters and drive along the roadways hoping to spot a grizzly bear or other amazing wildlife. With many visitors enjoying the view of Lake Louise on a summer day, here is our list of ways to incorporate mindfulness into your mountain experience.
1) Exercise Deep Breathing
Take three deep breaths while standing still. Your eyes can be open or closed, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This centering will bring you to the present moment and you will be able to fully take in the wonder of the landscape and other people before you.
Deep breathing has been proven to trigger body relaxation responses and has benefits to both physical and mental health. Researchers did an experiment on deep breathing and brain activity. Learn about the findings.
2) Tune in to all Your Senses
One by one, what do you see…, smell…, taste…, touch…, hear…? Standing in place and looking around, your body will take notice of exactly what is happening in the present moment and your heart rate will begin to slow. What languages are being spoken, what age are the people around you, how cold is the lake, is there a shadow from the mountains?
Drawing awareness to your senses helps to quiet the "monkey mind." Our perception of time goes into slow motion and we begin to tune into our surrounding at a more profound level. Mind, Body Green has a great post about how to tune into each of our senses.
3) Observe People
Become aware of what are your fellow travelers are experiencing. Being conscious of the people around you will reconnect you to the indelible fact that we are all living life together. Is a child smiling? Is a couple embracing for a selfie?
Keep an eye out for anyone that appears to be having a difficult or challenging time. Send them a smile of encouragement or understanding, for we have all had difficult moments in our lives.
4) Be Grateful
Think of something that you are grateful for in this exact moment. Gratitude is proven to reduce stress and contribute to increased overall happiness. According to Harvard Medical School, expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better. Taking a moment to recognize and give thanks is a powerful tool for our personal growth.
5) Take a Picture
Take your own picture with a phone, point and shoot, DSLR with high tech lens – or simply with your mind’s eye. Capture the the moment you are enjoying with the people you are sharing it with. Nothing is permanent; remember that the people you are currently standing with will move onto their next adventure, the sun will move behind a cloud, the color of the lake will change with the seasons, and you will embrace the next step of your journey. This image will remind you of when you took five minutes of stillness amongst the other visitors on the shores of Lake Louise.
This is a great list to remember when you are standing next to other people experiencing the same thing together in any event in your life. May you find a little adventure in your life today.