The Secret To Being Happier? Walk This Way

model strutting

With a little bit of effort, you can alter your mood enough to get out of your miserable funk.

My first boyfriend's name was John. We were both 17, and while at the time I thought he was my first love, looking back now, I realize it was just that puppy sort of love that wasn't meant to last more than the year that it did. But since I did think I was in love, I noticed that I walked different when I was with him. Because he made me as happy as a 17-year-old boy can make a 17-year-old girl, I had a sort of confident strut, a certainty about myself that was definitely new to me. But then his mother made a comment about my walk one day, and all that happiness went out the window.

I was visiting their family at a house they had rented on the coast of Maine, and one day when John and I walked out the front door and down toward the beach, his mother called out, "Stop walking like a tart, Amanda!" I was a shy kid, and not sure how to process the comment, (had she said that to me today, she would have gotten quite an earful), so I awkwardly smiled, hoped it was a joke that maybe I just didn't understand, and continued to the beach. But my walk changed. My strut was gone and being so wary of my walk so as not to "walk like a tart," I sort of shuffled along and was miserable for the rest of the trip.

How we walk has a major impact on how we feel, and thanks to John's mother, I know that from personal experience. A study has found that both our walking and posture have a direct effect on our emotional state. Even when participants in the study simply imitated a walk that was either happy or sad, their mood was altered to fit their walk.

After the participants completed the walking part of the study, they were asked to write down positive or negative words (they had been shown a list prior to the walking); whichever ones most accurately fit their emotions after their walk. The scientists' theory was proven right: sad walkers had negative words to report and the happy walkers had positive words to report.

What this means is that with a little bit of effort, you can alter your mood enough to get out of your miserable funk. Of course, it doesn't mean you'll be flying high just because you put a bounce in your step, but it will help. When it comes to slumping, as opposed to sitting up straight, the same thing goes. However, and you're definitely going to want to take note about this one, slumping not only makes you feel sad and angry, but it also kills your libido. If that isn't reason enough to straighten your back and sit more erect (!), then what other reason do you need? I mean, besides the promise of a pizza that you don't have to share with anyone, of course.


Explore YourTango