A significant number of research studies are doing little more than putting numbers on what those of us, who have been in the mindfulness movement for a long time already know.
Our bodies need to move. Our bodies and minds have evolved based upon the environment of our ancient ancestors. We did not evolve to sit down in office chairs, cars, or in front of the telly.
Movement does not mean going to the gym and pumping weights, or running a marathon. Movement means getting up and moving around. Going up and down the stairs, rather than taking the lift. Making sure the coffee machine is more than an arm’s length away.
Anybody who has attended our Introduction to Calming an Anxious Mind workshop will have learnt about the flight or fight centre we all have in our brains. It’s the bit of our brains that take over when it thinks we are under significant threat. It is the bit of our brain that is highly connected with the rest of our body and is responsible for those feelings we get, in the pit of our stomach, the sweating palms, the shallow breathing, when we are feeling anxious or stressed. There is also connections from the body back to this part of the brain. When we move our bodies, it sends signals back that everything is okay.
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You may already be aware that I am not a fan of yoga; however, I know many people find it fantastically effective for them. Yoga done well is a combination of movement and mindfulness.
New United States research suggests that keeping active could be even more effective at reducing stress when combined with mindfulness. Carried out by researchers at Penn State University, the study looked at 158 students at the university to see how movement-based behavior and mindfulness affected stress levels.