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Stepping into a Good Mood

Stepping into a Good Mood

Not only is walking good for your physical health, it can also do wonders for your mental health, too. Researchers from Canada’s Queen’s University discovered how you walk affects your memory and mood. In fact, your gait can transform your outlook from grumpy to gleeful or happy to horrible, and alter whether your recollections of recent experiences are negative or positive.

So next time you head out, take a couple of seconds to examine your body’s position. Think about the message it’s sending your brain. Are your shoulders back and relaxed (“I’m proud of myself and glad to face the world”)? Or are they slumped forward (“I’m tired and not looking forward to what’s coming”)? Is your core strong (“I feel confident”) or is your belly protruding and your back straining to stay straight (“I’m discouraged”)? If needed, adjust your posture: stand up straight, eyes straight ahead, shoulders slightly down and back and tummy in.

Now it’s your turn. Try out a high-spirited—even silly—walk. You’ll be surprised how it makes you feel more positive. And it’s contagious! Folks you encounter will be happier too (thanks to mirror neurons, but that’s for another day). Didn’t know your walking style could do so much for so many, did ya?

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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