You’ve probably heard about how “they” say that altering your physical state in some way can affect your mental state. But is this really true?
I felt like I was on top of the world when I finally kayaked a river that had intimidated me for quite some time. I did it! I completed it! I was so excited! On my way home, I stopped at a restaurant to grab a much-needed bite to eat. As I made my way towards the counter to order food, the cashier said, “You look like you could do anything.” He immediately felt embarrassed, but I thanked him for the compliment. I was amazed at how my external body movements communicated my internal accomplishment to a complete stranger.
It’s easy to see how our thoughts and emotions affect our movement and actions, but does this work in reverse?
I recently had a good-for-nothing day, and it was obvious through the interactions I had with myself, others, and in social situations. I, unfortunately, fell asleep and woke up in this funk the following day and couldn’t shake my negative mood. As I was walking my dog that very morning, the thought occurred to me that I should walk like a tiger – confident and focused. What do you know?! That quickly altered my mental state! Sounds kind of cheesy, I know. But as soon as I stood up straight, shoulders back, head held tall, my mindset shifted.
I felt the power of how altering your physical state impacts your mental state. It really worked!
When I teach people how to kayak, a lot of them look at me with big, worried eyes. I can tell that they are feeling scared, confused, and a little unsure about this whole kayaking thing. As silly as it may sound, I always tell them to wiggle their butt! This taps into their inner smile, lightens the mood, and the movement really does help them to stay upright. Next time you’re feeling down, uneasy, or are caught up in a major funk, notice your posture. Are you slouching with your head down? Has it been a while since you’ve sat up straight and pushed your shoulders back? I encourage you to walk like a tiger and wiggle your butt! But maybe not at the same time… It could look a little weird… Haha! For more on how to positively impact your thoughts and emotions by altering your movement and actions, tune into Episode 15 of the Fit Is Freedom podcast.