Here’s a quick and easy way to get happier—change your walking style.
Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada recently discovered that making people walk in a happy or sad way affects their moods.
“It is not surprising that our mood, the way we feel, affects how we walk, but we want to see whether the way we move also affects how we feel,” said Nikolaus Troje, a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advance Research and co-author of the study.
Troje and his co-researchers showed study participants a list of positive and negative words and then asked them to walk on a treadmill as they measured their gait and posture. A screen showed the participants a gauge that moved left or right depending on if their walking styles were more depressed or happier. They weren’t told what it was measuring, and the researchers would coach them into moving the gauge left or right.
The participants afterwards wrote down as many words as they could remember from the earlier list, and those that walked in a depressed manner remembered more negative words than positive ones. The researchers suggest that the style of walking created the mood.
So, the next time you’re feeling a little down, just change your walk to something a little happier. Perhaps with more arm movements, your head held high, and a pep in your step. Maybe some like this.