Anxiety Can Change Your Walking Direction



Written by: Kirsten Cowart

This may sound crazy, but recent research has found that if you are feeling anxious, then you may find yourself veering in a leftward direction when walking.

This leftward trajectory can actually be because you are inhibited by the excess activity on the right side of your brain due to stress.

Dr. Mario Weick from the University of Kent School of Psychology was the first person to figure out that the excess use of one of the brain’s two hemispheres can actually change how people walk.

During this study, Dr. Weick was trying to understand why people can’t seem to walk in a straight line when blindfolded. People were blindfolded and asked to walk towards a space ahead of them that they had previously seen. The researchers noticed that people who were stressed tended to veer to the left.

These results showed that there was a large amount of activity in the right side of the brain when people are stressed. This activity caused an imbalance, which made them walk off target.

This data may sound a bit off the wall and you may be thinking “So what?”

Well, if you think about this on a perceptional level, you notice a few things. First of all, when you are stressed you are literally off balance. You will physically wander off to the left.

If that is what happens to you on a physical level, then what is going on inside of your mind? Could your perceptions be a little to the left? What about your judgement? Perhaps stress also makes it harder to perceive truth or make accurate decisions.

The researchers found that the brain’s two hemispheres are associated with very different systems of motivation. They believe that the right side is affected by inhibition, leading to the leftward walking. This is also the first time that scientists could clearly see a connection between inhibition or stress and the brain activity in the right side of the brain.

We are unsure what this will mean for research moving forward, but it begs us to consider that mental balance is just as important as physical balance when it comes to moving forward in life. Perhaps stress plays a bigger role than we thought before.

Have you ever noticed yourself pulling to the left either walking or driving when you have a lot weighing on your mind? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.



Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
Kirsten Campbell
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