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New Study Shows that the More Mindful You Are, the Lesser your Stress and Anxiety!

It is a well-known fact that physical activity not only helps one become fit, but also assists in the reduction of stress. In fact, new findings demonstrate that being mindful of one’s self during any particular activity, even if it is just a brief saunter to the bus stop, can result in a major difference in overall mental health.

Stress is a factor that a majority of people would like to avoid in their lives. Keeping this in mind, a new study has shown that being in a mindful state actually reduces both anxiety and stress significantly

An enlightening study

The study, given the name ‘Momentary negative effect is lower during mindful movement than while sitting: An experience sample study’ is a publication by the Psychology of Sports and Exercise journal, released on May 9.

During the study, about 158 students were recruited from the Penn State University. They were instructed to download an app on their smartphone known as Paco, which would give them a heads up alert eight times a day regarding given questions.

They would be requested to detail exactly what they were doing, and how mindful they were of the given activity, how their mood was, and the stress levels that they had.

After a 14-day analysis was undertaken and the data recovered, the researchers identified one strong association. That the more active or mindful that a participant was during a given activity, the lesser the levels of anxiety and stress that they had.

Inner Peace

During our college and working years, our stress levels tend to be particularly higher than usual. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in every 5 students in the United States is anxious and depressed

Reasons for the study results

One of the study authors, David Conroy, went on to explain a little further regarding the history of the study. He began by stating that over the years, a majority of studies regarding this subject matter have been focusing on the subtle variances between people who are mindful against those who are less mindful. However, one of the things that did not qualify results of previously conducted experiments was that college students were often in and out of mindfulness during different times of the day.

Moreover, he added that having the ability to seamlessly shift into a state of mindfulness was essential for well-being and self-regulation.

As a matter of fact, a high number of college students normally report aggravated levels of anxiety, stress, and even depression.  To come up with easier ways to minimize such negative side-effects, researchers decided to study whether mindful movement could be used in the process.

Further clarification

The end resulted in the study noted that a particular association could not result in causality. Hence, lead researcher of the study, Chih-Hsiang ‘Jason’ Yang, carried out a second study using older students in order to gain a better comprehension.

The process of the second study was that participants who had an average age of 73, were requested to walk outdoors with a mindful state, paying close attention to their current moment, and observing their environment, as well as paying attention to their own sensations.

Towards the conclusion of the second study, the participants said that they had lower feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. These findings will soon be released to the public as a publication in the Aging and Physical Activity Journal.

The Hypothesis

For clarity, Yang explained that not every person spends their day undertaking vigorous activity as a result of factors such as their work schedules and their age.

Undertaking a large number of activities without being mindful of what one is doing is a recipe for disaster. Not only does this increase anxiety levels, but could lead to depression in the long run.

However, simply being mindful of one’s self when moving around can ameliorate one’s well-being significantly, sans the requirement of exerting a lot of effort.

Conclusively, Yang said that being an active person at any given moment consequently reduces anxiety and stress. However, it’s also essential to be more mindful as it amplifies the effect.

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