Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery and Stark Parks partnered to create a 1-mile Mindfulness Walk at Petros Lake Park. The trail, which opened to the public on June 1, 2019, features ten stations designed to promote mental health and self-care while enjoying nature. Examples of activities include a Zen sand garden, a musical instrument and stacking stones.
Exercise and eating a balanced diet get most of the attention when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. However, since mental health IS health, taking care of your mind is just as important. Mindfulness is about focusing your awareness on your present emotions and bodily sensations without judging them as “good” or “bad.”
The 10 stations prompt walkers to slow down and focus on what they are experiencing and feeling in the present moment. For example, before entering a small labyrinth, a visitor is to think of something that is troubling them. Then with each step through the labyrinth, they’re encouraged to let go of the trouble and, when finished, ask themselves if they felt lighter with each step.
The Mindfulness Walk takes 45 minutes to an hour to walk and complete the activities. Stark Parks education manager Dave Pildner told The Independent, “The purpose of this walk is not so much the destination as the journey. You’ll want to take your time, take in nature, and stop at each of the stations to reflect on what that station is asking you to think about.”
After walking the trail, Stark County resident Andrea Dulac had this to say: “[I love how] the stations along the Mindfulness Walk offer simple ways to release stress, experience nature with all of your senses, and deepen your inner calm. It is very family-friendly, and you can walk at your own pace, choosing which stops along the way are most helpful for you. Signs offer simple tips for mindfulness that you can carry with you even after you’ve left the park.”
Andrea then added, “This trail is a great step in normalizing and opening up conversations about mental health, and it’s an excellent community resource for Stark County! Thank you StarkMHAR and Stark Parks! I’ll be back often!”
Watch the video below from The Independent to learn more about the Mindfulness Walk.
We encourage you to visit the Mindfulness Walk as part of an overall self-care lifestyle. For driving directions to Petros Lake Park, use 3519 Perry Dr. SW, Canton, Ohio 44706. Proceed to the lower lot, where you will see the Mindfulness Walk entrance.
If you’re interested in additional ways to focus on mental health, StarkHelpCentral.com has resources for different youth life stages: early childhood, childhood, youth and teens, and young adults.