Look around you. Have you noticed how many people, yes seniors too, walk around looking like the world is going to end tomorrow? I mean, do you have to look like such a grouch?
Rounded shoulders, a shuffling gait, lips turned down at the corners and refusal to make eye contact paint a pretty dreary picture. Wouldn’t you like to change that image?
It’s all about being, or at least pretending to be, in a good mood. It means appreciating the fact that it is a beautiful day and that you are lucky to be alive.
Researchers remind us that our mood projects how we feel about ourselves. Happy people look, stand and walk differently than other people. When people are happy, they walk faster, their bodies are upright, they swing their arms more and sway from side to side less than sad or depressed people do.
Next time you are shuffling along feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders; reset and pretend that you are happy. Straighten your shoulders, raise your eyes, walk just a little faster, and smile for heaven’s sake.
A recent study reported that people who act happy not only fool others but themselves as well. Happy behavior generates a sense of well being; a depressed demeanor exacerbates feelings of sadness.
So how do you break the cycle?
Tilt your head up, look around, smile and speak to people you meet on your walk. A smattering of social interactions can change your day. Walk a little faster, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Focus on the sunshine, the scent of spring flowers, or the dancing teen wearing a tee shirt that reads “Life is Good.”
There are many little ways to cheer yourself up. Get over yourself for a half a minute. Talk to the person sitting beside you on the bus or chat with the barista at your favorite coffee shop…social connections make you strong. When you were a kid you thought you would die of embarrassment when your mom would strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, but she had the right idea.
Practice your smile. Make eye contact. Speak up and pretend you are happy, even if you are not, and walk as if you had somewhere important to be.