Satisfaction from head to toe. How does going barefoot help your mental health?
Do you notice it too? Your mental and physical well-being are deeply connected.
This has one big advantage: You can support your mental health through physical health. Wearing the right shoes — or even no shoes at all — can help you do just that.
Before we dive in, we’d like to remind you of one very important thing: Your mental health is incredibly important. If you haven’t felt well for a long time, please get in touch with a professional. Your future self will thank you.
Your physical health comes first
How do you feel when you have a cold? And how does your body feel when you’re stressed out?
Today’s medical community already knows that mental and physical health influence each other. And as we wrote in a previous article, barefoot walking is proven to benefit your physical well-being.
How to hack mental health? Barefoot walking helps.
The human body works as a whole system. If one part isn’t working correctly, it will impact the rest. One dysfunctional part could be, for instance, your feet crammed inside traditional footwear. They become stiff, don’t move naturally, and eventually affect the rest of your body.
So, what happens when you take off your shoes and learn how to walk healthily?
- The tension in your body balances. There’s no accumulation of toxins.
- You straighten up and start breathing more naturally. You get oxygen to your entire body.
- Natural breathing stimulates your internal organs and supports their function.
- Your joints fall into the right place, reducing wear and joint pain.
„Health is not everything, but everything is nothing without health.“
Paramhans Svámí Mahéšvaránanda, yoga teacher
When was the last time you had a massage?
More importantly: Do you know why it makes you feel great? A massage relaxes your body and relieves tension. Most of the tension that builds up throughout the day is unnecessary.
This often starts, for instance, when you wear shoes that have just a low heel, causing your foot to tilt and your body to realign. Add a toe box that doesn’t respect the shape of your foot and your whole body will be under constant tension.
Relax. Set your feet free.
Give up unnatural footwear, walk barefoot, or wear roomy and flexible barefoot shoes. Your body will loosen up the same way it does after a massage, allowing you to breathe more naturally and improving the way you feel.
And you’ll still get to experience a massage. Barefoot shoes stimulate the pressure points in your feet with every step and the corresponding brain centers.
Winning posture, hopeless posture
Studies have shown that our posture also influences our mental state. When you stand hunched over, your brain interprets this stance as sadness, similar to the way a smile indicates happiness.
Try this simple exercise:
- Stand in a slouched position. Keep your shoulders down, let your head hang, and round your back. How do you feel? Not great, right?
- Now, raise yourself up. Straighten out your back, square your shoulders, and hold your head up proudly. How do you feel now?
Remember to give this exercise a try whenever you aren’t feeling your best. Psychologists like Amy Cuddy say it’s possible to hack our mood with the right posture. Just try holding your “winning” posture for a few minutes.
A winning posture can make you feel self-confident.
Imagine going through your whole life with a confident and happy outlook. You can! When you stop wearing unhealthy shoes, you automatically straighten up and learn to stand on your feet actively, so they actually carry you. As a result, standing correctly in an upright posture becomes second nature.
Our tip: Learn to walk the healthy way
Barefoot shoes alone won’t work miracles. But they do give you the room for a healthy stride that’s easy for you to learn. Download a free copy of our ebook Step by Step to Healthy Walking, written by physiotherapist Lukáš Klimpera.
You always have someone to lean on
All of us need support sometimes. We all wish we had someone who could carry the weight of the world for us, even if it’s just for a little while. But in the end, sometimes we discover that the best “someone” is ourselves.
Start by carrying yourself, literally. You can find physical stability and support in your own feet.
The foundation is simple. Give your feet space. Don’t bind them up in shoes that don’t conform to the natural shape of your feet. Next, actively stand on your liberated feet and feel how they carry you. Finally, just enjoy the feeling of stability and security.
Sometimes, life throws obstacles your way. Wear the right shoes and overcome them.
A few interesting facts to wrap up
- Are we missing good bacteria from the soil? Research published by C. A. Lowryho, a professor at the University of Colorado, suggests that some harmless bacteria in soil can improve our mood, reduce depression, and boost our immune systems.
- Studies also show that physical contact with the ground, known as “earthing” or “grounding,” reduces muscle damage and can improve cardiovascular health.
- Proper barefoot shoes are lightweight (and wearing no shoes at all is even lighter). They let your feet move freely and make you feel the same.