Make Your (Mindful) Move
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Mythbuster: Mindfulness is not about wearing an adult nappy at the top of a mountain zenning out - it's for regular folk like you and me.
I’ve talked before about bringing mindfulness into daily activities, like eating.
Another way to integrate mindfulness into your life is through movement, which you’re hopefully doing to some degree every day already.
Don’t worry I’m not talking about some boujie new “mindful HIIT” workouts, just moving around in some form or other. Let's get to the science:
A super-millenial, app-based study
For two weeks, a special mobile phone app, called Paco, prompted 158 Penn State students at random times to answer questions about their current activity and states of mind.
The prompts included questions about where the participant was, if they were moving, and if they were stressed or anxious, as well as questions designed to assess mindfulness.
What they learned
Researchers found that in the moments when participants were more mindful or active than usual, they were happier and less stressed.
While students reported being less stressed when they were on their feet and moving, they received an even greater benefit when they reported also being more mindful.
Essentially; movement = good. Being mindful = good. Doing both = better.
A follow-up study focused on older adults who participated in an outdoor mindfulness activity then reported on their feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
They found that this group were less stressed than a group that didn’t practice a mindfulness activity.
Any move can be mindful
If you’re stressed and that’s stopping you from a regular exercise routine, you could potentially lift your mood by trying out mindful movement. Mindfulness in essence just means being present.
Practising awareness in the moment and using your senses to tune in to what’s around you.
A few easy ways to do this:
Put your phone away and be present on your commute. Yes, this option comes with practising the art of polite awkward staring at others and walking without headphones. Note to self - try the latter and practice what I preach.
Create a mindful workspace. Declutter and place your work stuff down carefully so you can move around your office and your day with less stress.
Find zen at tea time. Listen for the kettle, stir the oat milk (notice how I left sugar out… you are paying attention, I can tell), enjoy the warmth of the mug in your hands. Ahhh, I feel relaxed just typing that.
FOR THE NERDY: Click mindfully [source: Neurosciencenews.com]