How A Walk Gave Me A $40,000 Idea
By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick and Founder at Wild Women On Top
Raymond Myers once said, “if you seek creative ideas, go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”
The power of this quote became clear to me many years ago, when a walk made me $40,000.
Yep, you read that right.
I was a single mum, struggling to support my kids. I took myself for a walk because I needed to clear my head and breath some fresh ocean air. On that day, the angels whispered to me, and led to me to an idea that put me on the road to financial recovery.
I’d been grappling with a work problem. It was a point of contention between my business partner and I.
I believed I’d been inadvertently disadvantaged as a result of my lack of financial acumen. There had been no ill-intention at the time, but in my usual busy-bee impulsive way, I hadn’t fully considered a scenario that put me behind. Well behind. $40,000 behind.
This issue had bothered me for years. But I hadn’t been able to find a solution.
I resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck with the status quo and would have to just let it go.
But as I strolled across the rolling green pastures, atop the coastal cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, looking towards a rainbow forming on the horizon, I contemplated my situation deeply.
I had an unexpected revelation. A new solution burst into my mind.
When I went back to work, I presented the idea to my partner. They agreed that I could take the money I was owed.
I couldn’t believe it. One thought-walk helped me turn my life around.
The creativity boosting benefits of walking are no secret. Composers like Beethoven, great thinkers like Charles Darwin, and modern-day gurus like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, are known to take a hike when they want to get their creative juices flowing.
While some of us might just pace up and down the hall to give our ideas some legs, researchers at Stanford University studied the positive effect of walking outdoors on creativity. They found that walking enhances the creative generation of new ideas.
They examined creativity levels of people while they walked, versus while they sat, and found that walking boosts creative inspiration by an average of 60 percent. They also found that walking produced twice as many creative responses as sitting.
But walking in nature gives you more than just new ideas.
Walking in nature has immense benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Studies highlighted by the New York Times, shows walking in nature can reduce anxiety, reduce brooding, decrease negativity and increas positivity, as well as improve memory performance.
Scientists have also suggested that decreased nature experience may help to explain the link between urbanization and mental illness. But new research, from the National Academy of Science in the US, also shows that walking in nature changes the brain – in a good way.
This study took healthy participants on a brief nature experience, a 90-minute walk in a natural setting. This led to decreases in both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), whereas a 90-min walk in an urban setting has no such effects on self-reported rumination or neural activity.
This study reveals a pathway by which nature experiences may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.
Another study, by Stanford University found that people who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the Stanford campus were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.
So, what can we learn from this?
We need to walk. It’s good for our body, and it’s good for our mind. Research proves it – time and time again.
Nature is our gym, the mountains are our garden of Eden, and we will be doing ourselves and our families a big favour by getting out there every day.
And if you’re still not convinced, here’s the other scientifically proven health benefits:
Walking in nature:
- Makes you happy
- Stimulates the brain
- Improves circulation
- Controls depression
- Improves athletic performance
- Improves immunity
- Enhances memory
- Reduces anxiety
- Helps battle colds and flu
- Speeds recovery time after sickness
- Reduces brooding thoughts
- Enhances creativity
- Massages internal organs
- Speeds healing
- Reduces cancer
- Combats obesity
- Helps prevent diabetes
It’s as hard and easy as opening your front door and taking that first step.