Posture and The Mind

When we hear people talk about bad posture we immediately think of all the negative effects on our physical health and how our parents constantly remind us to “sit up straight and stand tall.” Signs of poor posture include rounded shoulders, forward head, slouched back and crossed legs, all of which typically occurs when sitting at a desk while typing our day away. Prolonged sitting in poor posture can lead to shoulder ache, back pain, neck pain, poor circulation and headaches. Aside from the physical aspects, poor posture can have adverse psychological influences on our mental state of mind and outward appearance to others. Here are a few facts to keep in mind when we need just one more reason for correcting poor posture:

1. Bid bad mood adieu

A study published in March 2017 in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that "adopting an upright posture may increase positive affect, reduce fatigue and decrease self-focus" in people with mild to moderate depression. Sitting down in a helpless, collapsed position makes it easier to evoke negative memories and thoughts while sitting down in an upright position makes it easier to have positive memories and thoughts. People who sat upright reported a higher self-esteem, a higher level of alertness, a better mood and less fear than those who slouched.

2. Confidence booster

Unknowingly, we instinctively protect our internal organs from a perceived threat by curling inwards--a classic defensive posture. By slumping, we're signaling to our subconscious selves that we are in danger. And the more we feel unsafe, the more difficult it is to focus our minds and concentrate on solving problems. Thus, sitting upright and standing tall expands our chest and radiates a sense of confidence.

3. Give your brain a chance to breathe

Slouching compresses our lungs, impairs deep breathing and reduces its capacity by approximately 30%. Less oxygen reaches our brain and consequently, decreasing our concentration and productivity. Optimizing oxygen flow to our brain by sitting up straight will help us think more clearly and calmly. 

4. Good posture, happy soul

We’ve all heard of the phrase “fake it till you make it.” There are some truths to this saying as it relates to posture and how we feel mentally. On days that we feel down or when nothing is going well, we naturally sit in a rounded shoulder posture with hands supporting our heavy head. To remove this weighted feeling, simply correct your posture and smile in front of a mirror. The effects are not immediate but subconsciously, your mind acknowledges your willingness to change your outlook and mood. Soon your body and mind will feel as if a burden has been lifted off your back.

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