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Self Space launches therapist-guided Walk Club for mental fitness and social connection

The UK's pioneering walk-in mental health shop, Self Space, is offering a new series of events called Walk Club, designed to help people break out of their ruts. Tapping into the insight that over half of Brits feel stuck and in need of change, these therapist-guided group walks encourage taking a step towards renewed momentum and social connection.

Walk Club participants are paired up and provided with conversation prompts to facilitate meaningful exchanges as they stroll through various parts of London. Beyond stretching legs, the guided walks also flex emotional and social muscles, practicing vulnerability, active listening and empathy. For people outside London, Self Space is offering a free download of 1,000 conversation prompts "to facilitate walkie talkies from wherever you are. With the people you love." Categories range from 'For parents with empty nests' to 'For busy people who never rest.'

By blending light physical activity with emotional exploration, the Walk Club format lowers the barrier to entry for those daunted by more formal mental health settings while providing a dose of analog community and IRL connection. As Self Space says, "Come as strangers, leave as friends." 

Trend bite

Recent research challenges the widespread narrative of an unprecedented loneliness epidemic exacerbated by the internet and social media. A comprehensive analysis from the University of Oxford found that internet use is associated with higher wellbeing, not lower.

A new study from the University of Essex, meanwhile, suggests that people's moods are lifted more by watching YouTube stars than by interacting with weak-tie acquaintances like neighbors or coworkers. "Parasocial relationships are an important part of our psychological toolbox when it comes to feeling like we have people out there who are able to validate and support us in times of need, even if we can never actually meet with them in reality," says study co-author Dr. Veronica Lamarche.

However, the Essex study also affirms that strong reciprocal relationships remain the gold standard for meeting emotional needs. A format like Walk Club bridges this gap, using the low-stakes convenience of being paired with a stranger to catalyze the kind of deep listening and mutual vulnerability found in intimate friendships. As digital interactions continue to reshape the relational landscape, how could your brand (a) enable more avenues for meaningful embodied connections, and/or (b) foster parasocial bonds that leave your audience feeling liked, respected and understood? 

Related: Rental platform Natuurhuisje maps out nature trails encouraging walk-and-talks with loved ones
Spotted by: Sharai White