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

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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.


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.


A smartphone-based, 14-day experience sampling study was conducted to assess college students' daily waking movement-based behaviors and subjective experiences.


A multilevel model was estimated to predict momentary negative affect from a variety of predictors including the interaction between mindfulness and movement-based behaviors.


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.


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.

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