How you walk can tell a lot about you

In 1970, when John Cleese premiered The Ministry of Silly Walks on “Monty Python's Flying Circus,” he stepped into the comedy hall of fame. No one who remembers that high-stepping goofiness or tries to imitate it can keep a straight face.

That's because, as researchers from Canada's Queen's University discovered recently, how you walk affects your memory and mood. In fact, your gait can transform your outlook from grumpy to gleeful or happy to horrible, and alter whether your recollections of recent experiences are negative or positive.

So whenever you head out, take a couple of seconds to examine your body's position. Think about the message it's sending your brain. Are your shoulders back and relaxed (“I'm proud of myself and glad to face the world”)? Or are they slumped forward (“I'm tired and not looking forward to what's coming”)? Is your core strong (“I feel confident”), or is your belly protruding and your back straining to stay straight (“I'm discouraged”)? If needed, adjust your posture: Stand up straight, eyes straight ahead, shoulders slightly down and back, tummy in. And make sure you're wearing shoes that put a spring in your step.

Now, it's your turn to do a high-spirited, even silly, walk. You'll be surprised how it makes you feel more positive. And it's contagious! Folks you encounter will be happier, too. Didn't know your walking style could do so much for so many, did ya?

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