The Simple Activity That Can Instantly Elevate Your Mood

We know that taking a walk can work wonders, not only for our bodies but for our minds, increasing cognitive performance, spurring creativity and boosting our overall mood. Now, a new study asserts that the way we walk matters, too. What's more, by adjusting the way we walk, we can actually alter our state of mind for the better.

The small study, published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, began by showing participants a list of words both negative and positive. Then, as the participants walked on treadmills, scientists asked half of them to walk in a more upbeat way. Those who adjusted to the upbeat gait remembered more positive words, while those who didn't recalled more negative words.

Previous research has revealed that walking can be extremely beneficial when it comes to various aspects of mental health. From alleviating mild depression to spurring creativity to improving thought clarity to simply freeing the mind to wander where it may, a nice stroll -- especially out among nature -- is one of the best mood-boosting prescriptions available.

So no matter your mood before getting moving, it can be altered for the better by holding your head up higher, swinging those arms a bit, and putting some pep in your step. It may feel contrived at first, but it won't for long.