When you have a busy schedule, it can be difficult to imagine fitting in one more thing — even if that thing can help combat stress. However, taking time out of your week to practice mindful movement can do wonders for your overall stress management. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or discipline. It just has to be a part of your life in some way. Pairing mindfulness with movement can take two great stress relievers and make them into one stress-relieving activity that can improve your overall happiness. So, let’stalk about how mindfulness & movement help combat stress.
Stress can have terrible effects on your body and mind. It’s important not to brush stress off like it’s just a part of life. Extreme stress is not healthy. By learning the art of being mindful and understanding why movement is important in that process, you should be able to find the activity that works for you.
The Negative Effects of Stress
Stress can affect so many functions of your body. It’s not just an emotional and mental strain, it can manifest itself physically as well. You may experience body pains, sleep disturbances, a dip in mental health, physical changes, and illnesses. Stress can affect your work, relationships, self-worth, and happiness. Many times, people experiencing an unexplained illness find that their body is reacting to feelings of stress. For that reason, it’s important to keep stress in check and work towards combating it. Each person tends to handle and combat stress differently. Though movement and mindfulness isn’t everyone’s first consideration when battling stress, it’s amazing just how much can change through these practices.
The Art of Being Mindful
Mindfulness is something that’s talked about a lot in the world of wellness, but it can be difficult to understand exactly what it means. Being mindful means being totally aware and present. It may seem as though it’s a tool many of us already use. However, perfecting it can really help in terms of stress release. It’s taking moments to be mindful and deliberate with your breathing. It’s about concentrating, having awareness, and releasing tension. Being mindful helps to remove the outside stress factors of life and focus on being grounded. It leaves a feeling of peace and calm while shifting your focus to your basic breathing and concentration. It’s not something that’s easily done, but — as with anything else — practice makes perfect.
Why You Should Incorporate Movement
Exercise is also an amazing form of stress release. First of all, it increases the production of endorphins. These are your feel-good neurotransmitters. They cause the feeling that some refer to as “runner’s high,” and they can improve mental health, reduce stress, and leave you feeling happier. For this reason, pairing mindfulness with exercise will allow you to double up on your stress release and overall happiness. You’ll feel healthier, have time for yourself, and increase your overall health and wellness. Being mindful while you’re working out can help you get the most out of your exercise. You’ll spend more time being aware of your body, breathing correctly, and concentrating on positivity while getting the most out of each movement.
Types of Movement to Combine With Mindfulness
You can incorporate some sort of mindfulness with almost any type of exercise, However, some forms of movement lend themselves to the pairing of movement and mindfulness a bit easier.
Meditation isn’t exactly a form of movement, but it can be a valuable aspect to pairing movement with mindfulness. For instance, it’s not so easy to be mindful when you’re doing something like mountain biking or climbing. Instead, incorporate meditation into that exercise. Before, after, or as a break in between, sit down and meditate. Concentrate on your body and your breathing. Remember to let go of the other thoughts that jump in.
Tai chi is a martial art that has a lot of focus on body and mind awareness. It offers many health benefits including better aerobic capacity, increased muscle strength, and lower blood pressure. Each movement in tai chi is calculated and precise, and it allows you to focus on your body in a mindful way.
Walking: Unlike movements like running or swimming, walking is an exercise that is relaxing enough to allow for mindfulness. You can walk while focusing on breathing, feeling grounded, and concentrating.
Many yoga classes take moments for meditation and instruct mindful tactics within each routine. Hatha yoga is a type of yoga that combines breathing with meditation and movement and concludes with relaxation. This ensures a focus on the mind as well as the body and promotes bodily awareness during each pose and movement.
It’s hard to avoid stress. Life expects a lot from each person, so it’s difficult to avoid stressful situations altogether. It’s a lot easier to work on coping with the stress you may feel while understanding how it can affect you emotionally and physically. Practicing mindful movements can be a great help in alleviating stress and increasing your health as a result. By understanding what it means to be mindful, you can find a way to pair exercise with that practice and watch yourself transform. You may not be able to avoid stress completely, but you can find ways to combat stress that are both relaxing and healthy.
About the Author
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.