Walk Happy, Be Happy :)

4-18-2012 2-59-48 PM

Research has shown that that forcing yourself to smile can improve your mood. Well, a new study published online in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry shows that walking in a happy manner may make you happier, too.

The study entitled “How we walk affects what we remember: Gait modifications through biofeedback change negative affective memory bias” led by Johannes Michalak, et al, showed 39 undergraduates words associated with happiness (such as pretty) and words associated with depression (such as anxious). The participants were then asked to walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes.

While walking, a screen showed the subjects a gauge that moved left or right depending on whether their walking style was more depressed or happier, but the subjects didn’t know what the gauge was measuring; they were just told to get it to move either to the right or to the left.

Unknowingly, the participants changed their walking patterns to either reflect the characteristics of depressed patients, with poorer posture and little to no arm-swinging, or a happy walking style, with an upright posture and swinging arms.

Afterwards, the subjects were asked to write down as many of the words they were shown as they could remember. Those who walked in a slumped over, depressed manner were able to recall fewer of the positive words and more of the negative words than had those who had walked with a pep in their step.

This, the authors conclude, means that the people who’d walked as if they were sad did, in fact, end up feeling sadder.

So the next time you’re feeling down, put a smile on your face and walk with a pep in your step- it may make you feel better!

 

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