Momentary negative affect is lower during mindful movement than while sitting: An experience sampling study

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Background:Movement-based behaviors and mindfulness can decrease many aspects of negative affect (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression). It is unclear whether mindfulness during waking movement-based behaviors (e.g., moving, standing, sitting) influences the associations between those movement-based behaviors and negative affect.Objective:This study tested whether situational mindfulness moderated associations between (1) usual moving/standing behavior and negative affect, or (2) momentary moving/standing behavior and negative affect.Design:A smartphone-based, 14-day experience sampling study was conducted to assess college students' daily waking movement-based behaviors and subjective experiences.Method:A multilevel model was estimated to predict momentary negative affect from a variety of predictors including the interaction between mindfulness and movement-based behaviors.Results:Participants' momentary negative affect was lower when moving (versus sitting) if they were more mindful than usual at that moment (b = 0.10, p < .001). People also reported less negative affect while moving (b = −0.70, p < .001) or standing (b = −0.51, p < .001) than sitting.Conclusions:These results extend prior work by showing that mindfulness during movement-based behaviors is associated with less momentary negative affect. Integrating mindfulness practices with daily movement-based behaviors may lead to greater mental health benefits and this hypothesis should be tested in experimental research.HighlightsCollege students' daily postures and movements are associated with negative affect.Decreased negative affect while moving mindfully compared to sitting is observed.Experience sampling method identifies within-but not between-person associations.Experimental methods are needed to test the synergetic effect of mindful movements.

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