1. How does walking bring happiness?
As well as being good for your health, walking is also great for your happiness. In part, this is because healthy people tend to be happier, but it’s also because taking a brisk walk gives you a chance to think and reflect.
Walking also sets off a number of other processes that contribute directly to a person’s sense of happiness and wellbeing, including:
- Promoting the release of endorphins - “happy” hormones.
- Releasing adrenaline – the body’s own “mood-lifting” chemical.
- Producing serotonin for a good night’s rest.
- Releasing muscle tension.
- Facilitating more rhythmic breathing.
- Increasing feelings of euphoria as a result of dopamine.
2. Tips to walk for happiness
If you’re feeling a bit flat, putting on your shoes and heading out the door can feel like a lot of work.
Here are some tips to help you put one foot in front of the other, even when you’d rather curl up under the doona and mope.
- As a certain manufacturer of sports equipment says, just do it. Even a short walk can give you an energy and mood boost.
- Be kind to yourself – it’s fine to set goals and work towards walking every day, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a walk here or there. Skipping one walk doesn’t send you back to square one: tomorrow will be a great chance to get back on track.
- Create a list of all the ways that going for a stroll helps you feel better (or make a note to come and visit these pages!). Reminding yourself that the effort really will lead to a reward is a great way to grab a little extra motivation when you need it.
- Walk regularly with a friend or neighbour. It can be helpful to have somebody else to egg you on.