A walk in the park is a guaranteed mood boost

When interviewed about what we want out of life, most of us put “happiness” near the top of our lists.

But what types of things actually make us feel happy?

Scientific evidence is mounting – that moving our bodies changes our brains in ways that can lead to happiness.

In fact, it turns out that moving our bodies is one of the best ways to foster a chemical reaction that leads to happiness.

I recently watched the mood-lifting documentary happy and want to tell you a bit about it.

Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics at Emory University, was one of two neuroscientists that were interviewed for this film. They discussed the neuroscience related to increasing happiness in our lives.

They explained that dopamine, a chemical in the brain (i.e., neurotransmitter), is necessary for us to feel pleasure and happiness.

According to Berns, we can foster the release of dopamine in our brains by doing certain things.

He noted that physical activity is one of the best ways to release dopamine. “Aerobic exercise is probably one of the best releasers of dopamine”, said Berns.

Does it make you feel differently about moving your body to learn that science shows physical activity is a great way to help lift your mood and feel happier?

You are the only person who can decide WHY to move your body – how about choosing to move for reasons that help you feel happier and live better every day?

This is such an essential concept – that I have a keynote called Moving Toward Happiness™ – One Step At a Time to inspire people to develop a new and much deeper and motivating relationship with exercise and moving.

If you have any experiences with physical movement promoting happy feelings in your own life please share them here! I will personally respond to your comments.

While on the topic of happiness, I want to share how happy and honored I was to be invited by Pedro Teixeira, to speak at two events in March about motivating sustainable exercise and healthy living in Lisbon, Portugal. Dr. Teixeira is a renowned motivation and behavioral researcher whose work I have admired for years.

To see my latest quotes in the media go to Self Magazine (March issue), and for those of you who read Portuguese, see my feature interview in Publico (a leading Portuguese newspaper).