Almost every aspect of your behavior, including the way you walk, can have an impact on the way you feel.
If you want to cheer yourself up in an instant, try changing something that you would rarely even notice, such as the way you move across a room.
Research shows there are only six basic walking styles.
Striders, for example, take long steps, walk with a bounce and let their arms swing back and forth.
In contrast, shufflers take small steps and have drooping shoulders.
It was also found people associate each of the styles with different emotions, with ‘striders’ perceived as happy and “shufflers” as sad.
Psychologist Sara Snodgrass, from Florida Atlantic University, wanted to discover whether changing the way people walked would influence how they felt.
While pretending to be conducting a study on the effect of physical activity on heart rate, Sara Snodgrass asked people to take a three-minute walk in one of two ways.
Half of the participants were asked to take long strides, swing their arms, and hold their head high.
The rest took short strides, shuffled, and watched their feet.
After enacting this real-life version of Monty Python’s Ministry Of Silly Walks, everyone rated how happy they felt.
Those who took long strides felt happier than those who shuffled.
So keep your head up, roll your shoulders back and walk tall – you’ll soon have a genuine spring in your step.
The six basic walking styles:
The Stride: Long steps with a bounce, arms swinging.
Message: self-confident, independent, successful.
The Shuffle: Small steps: pigeon-toed, drooping shoulders.
Message: meek and disorganized.
The Duckwalk: Toes point out and body swings from side to side.
Message: impulsive, independent, charming.
The Chopped-up Walk: Short, heavy steps.
Message: unfriendly and frustrated.
The Mince: Short, prim steps.
Message: submissive, not self-assured.
The Swagger: Shoulders back and hips swaying.
Message: not self-confident, unsympathetic