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Keep a stiff upper lip

Proud chest or drooping shoulders? Posture and gait say a lot about a person's state of mind. Depressive patients can often be recognised by their shuffling gait. But can the posture also influence the state of mind? Yes, says a research group around Professor Michalis from the University of Witten/Herdecke.

The scientists investigated to what extent the type of gait influenced memory. Test persons were instructed to change their gait pattern so that they ran either "happier" or "sadder" than usual. They were also presented with positive and negative words. In a subsequent memory test it was found that subjects who walked with their shoulders hanging shuffling retained more negative words.

A happy walk against bad mood

"This shows us that our way of moving has an effect on whether we process positive or negative information," explains Professor Michalak. "So there is a connection between the body, here the gait, and the psyche, here the kind of information we remember," the author continues.
Michalis is convinced that such physical intervention can also help depressive patients. In this way, it would be possible to develop therapeutic options that involve a change in physical processes. But his recommendations are also suitable for everyday life: When the mood is in the cellar, a "happy walk" can work wonders. 

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