Want Happiness? Walk Like You Mean It!

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We can know a lot about a person from the moment we lay eyes on them. Taped glasses might indicate a clumsy individual, who is also a penny-pincher; someone with their arms crossed, could come across as standoffish. 

That being said, did you know that a walking style-mood connection could also influence our moods? That’s what research out of the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry is saying.

Canadian researchers uncovered evidence that “inducing people to walk in a happy style” influenced them to have a better mood than people who were asked to walk in a more-saddened state.

Because we’re social animals, starts Nikolaus Troje, PhD, a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Senior Fellow at Queen’s University, we unknowingly spend hours watching and picking up on the habits of other people, making us “experts” at gathering information about others from various sources, he continues. So what does that all mean? Well, your own body language doesn’t only convey interpersonal messages to others– it also affects your own emotions and mood. Try slumping for hours, and then compare that with standing up straight during: you will notice the difference, emotionally and physically. 

“It just shows how strong the link is between the mind and body,” offers the author of Mindfulness, Danny Penman, PhD. Even if you thought your mind and body could be separated, he goes on, that no longer “seem[s] to be the case.”

In truth, humans seem to think with their bodies as often as they do with their mind, he admits. Much as this study showed, how our bodies behave affects how we interact with a given situation. And when it comes to mindful walking, he offers, it “re-establishes” the link between your body and mind.

If being in a bad mood is your MO, perhaps it’s time you employed some mindful walking habits. Come on, it’s easy: by focusing on your very walk, you can initiate the total reversal of a negative mood caused, at least somewhat, by bad unconscious posture.

Besides, when’s the last time you were walking and really focused on it– instead of the stressful things going on in your life that probably have you feeling pretty negative to begin with? It’s time to get purposeful with your walk– and your mood!

After all, each step you take should be a step towards self-improvement: I’ve corrected my posture over the years, and now I feel great!

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