Most of us know there isn’t a magic cure for everything that ails us, whether it’s physical or emotional. Still, there is one thing we can all do that will make us feel better, no matter what’s going on.

The simple answer is: move. Whether you’re feeling sick, depressed, tired, irritated or bored, moving can help.

Regardless of our circumstances, simply moving our bodies, our minds, our ideas, our routines and our perspectives can change whatever is going on and make us feel better.

As physical therapist Carol Welch says, “Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.”

Moving Our Bodies

This is the movement that most of us know, but on a bad day, it’s hard to get our selves up and going. If we feel depressed or tired, the last thing we want to do is put on walking or running shoes and go outside to move.

And yet, when we do, everything changes. Our minds begin to refocus, now on the beauty of the sky or the slant of the sun instead of on whatever was bugging us a half hour ago.

Some people make a point of moving a little bit every hour. They set an alarm and just walk around the block or out to the street or even to another room in the house.

You probably won’t feel like a different person when you return, but you definitely won’t feel the same as you did before you moved.

Moving Our Minds

You don’t need to literally move your brain, but doing something to engage it can alter your thought process. If you’re worried about something, for example, read a book, do a crossword puzzle, finish a brainteaser, even try a new recipe.

At first, you might struggle to concentrate, but push through it. The more we focus on something other than what’s bugging us, the easier it is to let it go, even for a little while. Plus, keeping our minds active and moving can help us maintain a youthful outlook.

Actress Sophia Loren once said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Move Your Ideas and Biases

It’s easy to get hooked on an opinion or a bias – about politics, society and even someone else’s behavior or ideas. But getting stuck is never a good idea. Being open to what other people think and feel, as well as to changes in the world, will actually make you feel better.

Most of us hold on to our opinions and points of view because it feels safer to do so, but just considering new ideas never hurt anyone. And, you don’t have to change your stance; you simply need to occasionally consider things from a different point of view.

This is basic empathy, and it helps us to understand why people feel and act the way they do. Simply shifting your thought process occasionally can result in greater flexibility and deeper understanding.

Move Your Routine

I thrive on routine. It helps me get things done and it provides structure in my life. But when I’m feeling stuck or bored or irritated, shaking up that routine can provide a boost. Just breaking up your typical schedule can change everything.

Take yourself out to breakfast, go to an art gallery, walk on a new route, put down the book you’ve been trying to finish and read one that you know will engross you.

We create our own routines to help our selves, but we can also change them when we need to be reawakened and to think about things in a new way.

Move Your View

Last year, we moved into a new house. It is less than a mile from our old house, but it’s smaller, there is only one story, and there is no pool – all things we were looking for as we grow older.

What I wasn’t consciously looking for was a new view. But now, as I make coffee in the morning, I watch the squirrels in the yard that weren’t in my old yard. In the afternoons, I can see kids going home from school on the bike trail that runs nearby.

I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to move to a new home, but looking at the world from a different perspective – either literally or figuratively – can definitely help our moods and our health.

Moving isn’t the answer to every problem we’ll ever have, but it is a great way to take action and responsibility and make some changes.

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Consider his advice the next time you feel stuck, and I guarantee that your new view will spark creativity, energy and gratitude.

What are some easy ways you could move your body during the day? What biases do you have that you could benefit from changing? In what ways could you change your overall view, either literally or physically? Please share your insights below.

Ginny McReynolds is a longtime writer. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College, and writes about communication, retirement, reinvention, self-concept and creativity in The Washington Post, Curve magazine, and Together.guide. Please visit her blog called Finally Time for This: A Beginner’s Guide to the Second Act of Life.

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