Exercise helps but mindful movement also helps lower stress, anxiety

on 23 September 2018
The magic of mindfulness

In a busy world, it helps to know that the hustle-bustle isn't the only option in finding success, sometimes it can be found in the quietest of places . . .

Creating the Halcyon, the calm at the centre of the storm!

I have often explained to clients, that being calm doesn't always mean being still because calmness is a state of mind and is not necessarily related to stillness or inactivity. So this research is a breath of fresh air as it corroborates my theory, that we can learn to use our minds to create wellness and still live a busy and active life. In fact, living life means being mindful of it, as it happens, for if you are not aware of it as it is happening, then all you have are the memories of it; not the experience!

When it comes to mind management though, that takes practice and in this context, I am thinking beyond the level of mindfulness observed in this experiment. In some sense, I am referring to the awareness of the self, having an experience, a kind of out of body observational perspective of your life. Of course, this is not in the context of every moment but rather; moments! Certain times of every day have significance, be it meeting a friend or a new contact, having a coffee on your own and just being aware of the world as it passes in front of your eyes. Looking at young children play, a gorgeous dog, an eye-catching billboard. There are so many things that we experience each day without as much thought, yet that thought can help us be aware of how good we feel and how lucky we may actually be!

How often do we hear people who are having a challenge say, "there's always someone worse off than yourself." The secret to a more fruitful and hopeful life is to have those thoughts before you are down in the dumps. It is this kind of mindfulness that both creates and sustains these inspiring states of mind and the brain/body chemistry that make them feel so good.

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is. Most of the behaviours that make life challenging are a result of a lack of mindfulness and the opposite is equally true. Thoughts, be they bad or good, are subconscious in nature. So it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the peculiarities of the subconscious mind. If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to take your life, or your business, to the next level, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

Taking a walk may be a good opportunity to mentally review your to-do list, but using the time to instead be more mindful of your breathing and surroundings may help boost your wellbeing, according to researchers.

The researchers found that while students reported being less stressed while they were on their feet and moving, they received an even greater benefit when they reported also being more mindful.

Chih-Hsiang "Jason" Yang, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Southern California who led the study while earning his doctorate at Penn State, said the results suggest a simple way for people to boost their wellbeing throughout the day.

"It can be difficult to ask people to spend a lot of time doing a moderate or vigorous activity by going to the gym or out for a run, especially if they feel stressed," Yang said. "But if they don't need to change their everyday behaviour, and can instead try to change their state of mind by becoming more mindful, they can probably see this beneficial effect. You don't need to exert a lot of extra effort in order to improve your wellbeing by being more mindful while you're moving around."

David Conroy, professor of kinesiology at Penn State, also said the findings -- recently published in the journal Psychology of Sports and Exercise -- could help people who are not able to engage in strenuous exercise.

"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."

According to the American College Health Association, more than half of college students experience anxiety, sadness or mental exhaustion at least once a year, suggesting a need for a simple way to reduce these negative states. Because students are often moving throughout their days, as they walk to class and go about other activities, the researchers wanted to see if there was a connection between mindfulness, movement and a reduction in negative states.

The researchers recruited 158 Penn State students for the study. For two weeks, a special mobile phone app, called Paco, randomly prompted the participants eight times a day to answer questions about their current activity and states of mind. The prompts included questions about where the participant was as if they were moving, and if they were stressed or anxious, as well as questions designed to assess mindfulness.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that in the moments when participants were more mindful or active than usual, they showed a reduced negative effect. They also found a possible synergistic effect when people were both mindful and active.

"When people were both more mindful and more active than usual, they seem to have this extra decrease in negative affect," Yang said. "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 effect."

Conroy said it was interesting to see patterns emerge within the individual participants, instead of just comparing people who are generally more mindful to people who are generally less mindful.

"Most studies in this area have focused on the differences between people who are more versus people who are less mindful, but we saw that college students often slipped in and out of mindful states during the day," Conroy said. "Developing the ability to shift into these states of mindfulness as needed may be valuable for improving self-regulation and well-being."

To better explore the causal role of mindfulness on lower negative states of being, Yang completed a second study, in which older adults who participated in an outdoor mindfulness activity then, reported on their feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Yang found that mindful walking was associated with lower levels of these feelings.

The researchers said that in the future, studies that collect more objective data -- like gathering information about physical activity by using accelerometers -- and include more varied populations could be useful.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Penn State. Originally written by Katie Bohn. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Chih-Hsiang Yang, David E. Conroy. A momentary negative effect is lower during mindful movement than while sitting: An experience sampling studyPsychology of Sport and Exercise, 2018; 37: 109 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.05.003

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Mindful movement may help lower stress, anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2018. <>.