How You Walk Can Affect Your Mood

Liiketoiminta_06Can the way you walk give away clues about your mood? More importantly, can you change your mood through how you walk?

Science Daily reports that “Our mood can affect how we walk — slump-shouldered if we’re sad, bouncing along if we’re happy. Now researchers have shown it works the other way too — making people imitate a happy or sad way of walking actually affects their mood.”

The researchers in theĀ study, “How we walk affects what we remember: Gait modifications through biofeedback change negative affective memory bias,” used biofeedback “to manipulate the walking pattern of participants towards a more happy or a more depressed style.” Study highlights include:

  • “Changing the gait pattern in that way has effects on affective memory bias.”
  • “Participants manipulated to walk in a more happy way recalled a higher proportion of positive self-relevant material.”
  • “Changing gait patterns is suggested as a means to foster a more balanced processing of information in depressed patients.”

walking-1Science Daily further reports that “Subjects who were prompted to walk in a more depressed style, with less arm movement and their shoulders rolled forward, experienced worse moods than those who were induced to walk in a happier style.” Or, as the Wall St. Journal wrote: “When people are happy, they tend to walk faster and more upright, swing their arms and move up and down more, and sway less side to side than sad or depressed people.”

Concludes Science Daily: “Developing a better understanding of the biological algorithms in our brains that process stimuli — including information from our own movements — can help researchers develop better artificial intelligence, while learning more about ourselves in the process.”