Is Your Bad Posture Making You Unhappy?
Have you ever noticed how your posture changes when you experience different emotions? When someone praises you for a job well done, you almost certainly lift your head higher and straighten your back with pride. When you are feeling anxious or lonely, you probably round your shoulders and have a tendency to look at the ground more.
Did you know that the opposite is also true? Over time, the way that we stand, walk and sit can have a big impact on our health and happiness.
Is Your Bad Posture Hurting Your Happiness?
This is true for a couple of reasons. First, certain positions are just plain unhealthy for our bodies. When we slouch over our computer screens, we restrict the amount of air that our lungs get, while creating tension in our joints and muscles. Second, our brain pays attention to our posture and, in their own strange way, assume that “if we look depressed, we must feel depressed.”
If you’re ever seen the movie, Wanderlust, with Jennifer Aniston, you will probably remember the scene where one of the characters says “I heard that if you smile a lot, you can trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy.” Did I mention that I love that movie?
Well, in any case, smiling won’t make you instantly happy, but, it does send powerful signals to your brain to start producing happiness chemicals. Likewise, walking with your head held high, forced your brain to try to “catch up.”
Take a few seconds to pay attention to your posture now. You have probably started sitting up a little bit straighter since you started reading this article. That’s just how connected the mind and the body are! Try activating your stomach muscles even more and straightening your shoulders. Do you notice how much deeper your breathing has become?
As with so many things, the trick to improving your posture is to take small steps and repeat them often. For example, you could set an alarm to go off every 1-2 hours. When the alarm goes off, take a quick inventory of your body and how it is feeling. What does your body posture say about your mood?
If you feel tense, take few deep breaths and smile to yourself. If you find yourself sitting when your alarm goes off, ask yourself it it’s time to take a 10 minute walk break – hint: it’s always a good time for a walk!
I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Do you think that improving your posture can have a positive impact on your mood? Why or why not? Please join the discussion.