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Take a Hike! Why It’s Good for the Mind, Body and Soul

hike for your health

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by Valerie Grimes

Hypnotized to hike.

I hike because it relaxes me. When I started hiking almost 20 years ago, it was for exercise. Now it is for my soul.

Hiking is hypnotic. Once I decide to do it and start walking, I realize before long a lot of time passed and I no longer seem to focus on my worries and concerns. With my creative mind in problem solving mode, I finish the trail with solutions.

Hiking time as meditation

As an active person, sitting meditations are not my thing. I began to use my hikes as meditation time, focusing only on the senses. I started by noticing only the visuals, shapes, colors etc., then moved on to sounds and feelings. This practice over time made my hikes more productive on all levels; mental, emotional and physical.

Nature calls me, even when the trail is muddy, when it is 100-degrees, when it snows. I am part of the natural world, so whatever it experiences, I experience as well.

(photo by Bryan Eldridge)

How and why I started hiking

Recently divorced, and somewhat divorced from the real world as well, a date invited me to Grapevine Lake for a hike. I don’t remember much about that hike other than my date’s words of wisdom, “You hydrate before the hike, not on the trail.”

While the date wasn’t particularly memorable, I was grateful for the introduction to the North Shore Trail and continued to hike there solo weekly for about ten years – until I tired of fighting with the DORBA (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) riders. I hiked to release pent up anger and to connect to something greater than myself. I hiked for answers. I hiked because I didn’t have anything else to do. I hiked because I liked how my body felt when sweating and exerting energy. I liked that I was happily exhausted afterwards when I returned to my car.

Twenty years later hiking is in my DNA. I am hypnotized to hike. Like brushing my teeth, it is unconscious.

Everything is alive, everything has a soul

In his book “Spell of the Sensuous,” David Abram introduced me to the idea of animism: Everything is alive, everything has a soul. I did several solo camping trips after reading his book and remember feeling like there was so much more on the trail than just me. Nature was alive and saying “Hey look at me, look how I am a tree growing happily out of this rock,” “Hey look at me, I am a rock that is so large, yet gracefully balanced on a small rock.” “Hey look at me, I am a flower with 50 bees on me and I am still smiling.” It was powerful because as I write this I can STILL see those images in my mind’s eye.

hike for your health

(photo by Bryan Eldridge)

If you hear the calling, answer it

As the saying goes, “take a hike”. If you have a problem, tell yourself you want to find a solution by the end of your hike. Start off on the trail and forget about it. It may come to you while you walk, or you may realize it later. Even better, you may find the issue resolved itself seemingly on its own…but the subconscious really did that. You’ll discover, as I did, how much hiking and hypnosis have in common to help shift perspective and gain insights.

Try it. Even if it is a walk in your neighborhood. The wind longs to move through your hair.


Valerie Grimes, CHt Clinical Hypnotist
Valerie is a master at helping people overcome their negative belief systems. false opinions, and self-defeating habits that reside in their subconscious mind. Hiking and hypnosis are both linked to mental health so she combines the two to help you achieve your goals. Valerie leads groups in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Learn more here




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