Feeling a bit down? Go for a walk and add a bounce to your step. While regular walks can boost your mood, your gait may also affect your frame of mind.
Researchers have studied how negative or positive thoughts affect your gait. If you focus on the negative, your walk may mimic depressive patterns of movement characterized by slumped shoulders, head positioned forward and subtler arm swings. The effect works both ways. An intentionally positive mindset correlates with the happy gait of a bouncier step and greater arm swings.
But it needn’t begin with the mind. There are some indications that by pretending to walk as a happy person with a bouncier gait, your thinking will become less negative. This research investigates the power of body language on the mind.
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