The most recent research found that adding a little mindfulness to a normal, regular walk helps to fight stress and anxiety. The respondents reported less stress when they are moving around and even less when they move around mindfully.
Mindful walking means being present in the moment while walking and could involve:
- Being more aware of the surroundings — noticing and appreciating things.
- Allowing thoughts about the past and future to fly away.
- Concentrating on the breath going in and out.
One of the study’s authors emphasises that
“It can be difficult to ask people to spend a lot of time doing moderate or vigorous activity by going to the gym or out for a run, especially if they feel stressed.
But if they don’t need to change their everyday behavior 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.”
Also, it has been stressed out that not everyone can find the time or motivation for 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.
This option may be especially beneficial for people who don’t enjoy exercise and would prefer a less intense form of physical activity.”
The conclusions have come from this study that included 158 participants who used a mobile phone app that randomly sampled their experience over a two-week period. The results showed that the more mindful people were in the moment, the lower their stress and anxiety levels.
“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.”
The study was published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise (Yang et al., 2018).