Being Mindful when you move reduces stress, and boost your mood.
Meditation is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, so is moving the body through exercise.
It is well-known that physical activity can not only help you become fit but also reduce stress. New findings have shown how being mindful during any such activity, even if it's just a walk to the shops, can make a huge difference to your mental health.
When you go for a run if you’re thinking about work, or life stresses, you’ll find it won’t do much for your mental state. However, paying attention to your body and your surroundings is likely much more beneficial and enjoyable.
A study from Penn State University concluded that mindfulness while moving was linked to well-being, the team had 160 students use a mobile app which asked them 8 times a day, what they were doing, and how they were feeling.
The team found that when students were either moving or experiencing more mindfulness, they felt much better mentally. And when they were both moving and feeling mindful, their mood and stress levels were even better. This research also found that if the students were sitting down and not doing anything, they were least happy!
Study author Chih-Hsiang "Jason" Yang said: “When people were both more mindful and more active than usual, they seem to have this extra decrease in negative affect. Being more active in a given moment is already going to reduce negative affect, but by also being more mindful than usual at the same time, you can see this amplified affect.”
In another experiment participants were asked to take part in an outdoor mindful walking activity, where they were instructed to pay attention to their breath, steps, and emotional and bodily sensations. The research concluded that in each participant their depression, anxiety, and mindfulness levels all improved during and after the treatment.
Yang explained that not everyone can spend a lot of time performing moderate or vigorous physical activity due to factors like age or work schedules. But simply trying to be more mindful when moving around can improve well-being significantly without the need to exert a lot of extra effort.
This is also good news for people who want the mental health benefits of exercise without having to exercise—or at least swap it out for mindful walking from time to time. This less strenuous, but more mindful, activity may help both mood and stress levels.
"If someone is looking for a way to manage these kinds of feelings, it may be worth trying some sort of mindful movement," Conroy said. "This option may be especially beneficial for people who don’t enjoy exercise and would prefer a less intense form of physical activity."