by Matt Weik
Humans are not designed to sit at desks, stare at screens, and be sedentary. Our bodies didn’t evolve like that, they evolved working on farms and navigating the wilderness. A few thousand years of civilization later, we are still not doing things right! The problem is that we sit for much of our day at work, in front of the television, or on the computer these days. Figuring out how to be more active is hard when you have a sedentary lifestyle. The good news is that there’s a relatively quick fix for this — simple mindful movements.
What Is Mindful Movement?
Mindful movement is a simple practice that can help you stay alert and awake. We know that the human brain can only focus well for so long without rest, and the need to move our bodies is just as strong. The practice of mindful movement combines them both, giving your brain a break while also helping you reset your body’s posture.
How is it Different from Regular Exercise?
Mindful movement isn’t limited to things like yoga, although that is one way you can practice mindfulness through movement. It could be anything from walking meditation to running, dancing, or knitting (if that’s your thing).
If you are focused on the sensations and feelings in your body as you move instead of thinking about other things, then you’re doing it right.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
How to Practice Mindful Movement for Better Focus?
In the business world, it’s easy to get caught up in deadlines, projects, and productivity. So much of our days are spent sitting and working at a computer that we can forget to prioritize movement.
However, mindful movement is crucial for improving focus and concentration while also boosting mental health. Here are multiple types of mindful movement that you can utilize to improve your focus.
- Stretching: You don’t have to dedicate an hour each day to stretching to see the benefits. Even taking 10-minute breaks throughout the day can help you refocus your mind and improve your flexibility. Providing relief for your muscles and joints will help reduce tension and improve posture, which will allow you to focus better on your daily tasks. Stretching can also help you relax after long periods of time sitting in front of a computer.
- Walking: This type of mindful movement can be done almost anywhere. As you walk, focus on how your feet feel against the ground and how your body feels with each step. You can also take note of any sounds around you, like birds chirping or wind rustling through trees. If a thought pops up while you’re walking, acknowledge it without judgment and then let it go so that all your attention is focused on the experience at hand — walking.
- Mindful Gardening: Gardening offers all sorts of benefits for both body and mind — but only if you’re present while doing it! Before digging into your garden this spring or summer, take a moment to feel the soil beneath your fingers and listen to the sounds around you. If thoughts crowd in, gently acknowledge them before returning to the task at hand.
- Tai Chi: This ancient Chinese martial art has slow motions that make it easy for people of all mobility levels to do. It’s low impact, so there’s less chance of injury than with high-impact exercise. It’s also a good workout for balance and flexibility, which may help prevent falls — an important consideration for older individuals trying to stay independent longer.
- Mindful Yoga: Yoga can help with focus, and it is one of the best mindful movement practices. Yoga is the ultimate mindful movement practice. It focuses on connecting your breath with a series of poses that bring strength and flexibility to your body. There are many types of yoga, and many options for different levels of practice, so it’s easy to find something that works for you.
Benefits of Mindful Movement
The research on mindfulness suggests that not only does it benefit our mental health and well-being, but it can also improve our physical health. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, help us cope with pain and chronic illness, improve our immune system, and even increase life expectancy.
Here are some further benefits you may experience through mindful movement:
- Better focus is one of the benefits of mindful movement. When we’re focusing on what we’re doing, we’re less likely to have the kind of obsessive thoughts that tend to make us feel anxious or depressed.
- Mindful movement has a positive effect on our breathing because it helps us breathe more slowly and deeply, which reduces stress levels in the body.
- It’s also believed to reduce inflammation in the body, which may explain why this type of exercise is also helpful for people with conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.