Shake, Shake, Shake Your Way To Happiness

Photo of smiling brown haired woman, eyes hidden
Image credit: photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Thich Nhat Hanh.

Researchers have recently found that the way we walk, the way we sit, and even how we interact with strangers can all influence our mood and perhaps even alleviate depression. In one of the most recent studies from Germany, “the researchers changed gait patterns of test persons (39 students) so that their gait was either more cheerful or more depressed than normally.”

And what they found ...

... was that the way you move can determine happiness. Dr. Michalak, one of the authors of the study, states that the study:

Substantiates the assumption that the way we move affects the way we process positive or negative information.

Moving For Happiness

Essentially:

  • If you walk in a happier manner (more swinging of arms, head up), you remember less negative words.
  • If you walk more dejectedly, (hands held close, looking down, shuffling), then you are more likely to recall negative words, which is seen as an indicator for depression.

Genuinely feeling our bodies through movement can help us to keep from being stuck in our heads and shift us from a “stuck” emotional place. When you are living in your body and not your mind, you can experience a connection with a person or even a sunset very differently.

This difference – being in the body versus the head – means that we are no longer thinking, questioning, or analyzing every minute. For instance, notice how you feel while you are dancing, for example, versus when you are sitting and thinking.

Having that break from our thoughts gives us the chance to see that we are more than our thoughts. That alone can help to free us from a cycle of depression or depressed moods.

Shaking, especially, is a great way for people to relieve:

  • Tension.
  • Anger.
  • Frustration, or ...
  • Anxiety.

Or simply to help us to feel better.

Shaking is one of my favorite ways of shifting things for me, whether it be emotional or physical.

Dogs are wonderful role models to demonstrate this. Have you ever noticed how when a dog gets up they tend to stretch and then to give themselves a shake?

Find more information about how we movement can benefit our mental health in my complete article.

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