As I’m mindlessly walking to the Stu for my morning bagel or strolling past the quad to hit the books, I can’t help but notice the major amount of people who look down at the ground when they walk passed me. Maybe it’s because I’m doing it too. Something so casual and unnoticed has me in major thoughts and has really changed the way I present myself when I walk, talk, and act. I feel like posture more than anything has played one of the most influential factors when it comes to giving off messages to people.
Sure, you looking down at your phone or plugging into your headphones is a normal commute ritual, but have you actually commuted without them? Maybe you’re deep in thought about something and choose not to look ahead while you walk to work, maybe something catches your attention on the ground, maybe you just don’t want to be acknowledged by people, or any other viable reason for it I can come up with.
According to Anna LeMind from Learning Mind, she explores the ways in which our walk reveals a lot about our personalities. She talks about how the position of your head most definitely has an influence on someone’s perception of your mood: “If your head is up while walking, it could mean that you are in a good mood, while the head down most likely means that you are not feeling well”(LeMind). I’ve found some ways to improve it:
01. Unplug on some walks.
I know it can be hard to take off the headphones or miss a podcast, but I’ve found that walking outside without any technological distractions is the breath of fresh air my mind needs. You also never know who or what you might interact with. I’ve found that people, especially people I know and am friends with, are more likely to socialize when I’m not focused on where I’m headed or appear removed from my surroundings.
02. Smile at someone while you walk past them.
I get it. It’s not always easy to look at someone when you walk past, but it’s always nice to smile and get a positive response or acknowledgement from a stranger. It makes my day more worthwhile. I mean, I would take that than getting catcalled or sworn at by a driver any day.
03. Hold your head up and look around.
I’ve been more aware of the way I lift and lower my gaze when I walk and I’ve (surprisingly) noticed and seen more when I’m present in my casual journeys around the city or my campus. I know it’s a silly thing to think about, Natalie, you have to look up to walk, but a lot of people hit things and are so oblivious to what else is going on around them. You can text them later!
04. Observe your surroundings and be more aware.
This coincides with the previous point, but a lot of people walk into doors, into holes, into puddles, cars, people, trees, everything. I’ve done it and I’m sure you have. Be smart, observant, and walk like it.
05. Lift your shoulders up and heavy foot forward.
Even your entire body posture can send miscommunicated messages to people, even when you cross the street and almost get hit by a taxi. My whole mood is even changed when my posture and walk are lifted. It really makes a difference. “No slumping!” my mom would nag.
It only takes a couple improvements to present your best self in public and also raising and boosting your mood. Be more aware and confident in your strides because you are powerful and should be noticed!