Feeling a little down lately?
The solution to your lackluster Monday mornings and melodramatic moods may be something as simple as straightening up your posture! A recent study in Psychosymatic medicine, Journal of behavioral medicine, analyzed posture in over fifty subjects and found a direct relationship between posture expression and the way in which emotions are processed within our bodies. It’s important to realize that decreased walking speed, decreased arm swinging, forward head tilt and slumped posture are all proven to dampen your mood and decrease energy levels.
Life is hard enough already, so why add to your troubles by hunching over all day? I am here to share some easy tips that will improve your posture and wellbeing all in one.
Before you can fix your posture, you need to become aware of your body’s position during everyday activities. Have you noticed that it takes more effort for you to walk tall and sit up straight when you are tired, nervous, sick or annoyed? This is because what you’re feeling inside translates to how you present yourself physically on the outside. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, it makes sense that this theory also works in reverse. Just as every thought you think has a corresponding physical reaction, every change made in your body (your posture) creates a reciprocal change in your thoughts.
In addition to the positive effect a good posture has on you; let’s not forget how loudly body language speaks to those around us. The way we carry ourselves conveys immeasurable amount of information to our outside world. It is important that people you interact with are able to see you as the positive, confident person you are rather than being confronted by your hunched posture and distracted by wondering what happened to you to make you insecure and upset.
Here are five fun and easy tips to help you improve your posture and help the rest of the world see you as the powerful confident person you know you are:
- Breathing: Stop what you’re doing and without changing your body position try to take a huge breath in. Now sit up straight, roll your shoulders back, look straight ahead and try it again. Notice how much more air you got in the second time? Compare breathing with good and bad posture a few times and remember more air into the body= more oxygen to the brain= better thinking and more energy throughout the day!
- Stand in front of the mirror and strike a pose! Sometimes it takes serious self-reflection for us to make a change. Turned to the side as to see your side profile, turn your head toward the floor ( keeping eyes up just enough to see the mirror of course) roll your shoulders forward, let your stomach hang down and put all your weight on the leg of your choice and let your hip pop out to one side. Now say or think to yourself loudly, “I’m awesome.”( Remember how this looks and feels). Now try looking straight ahead, rolling your shoulders back, pulling those shoulder blades together, tightening your core and evenly distributing your weight on both fee and try repeating “I’m awesome.” Not only will it be easier to say the second time, but much easier to believe as well. Remember, were trying to make your life easier and happier. Take note of how you look and feel now.(big improvement)
- Mid back squeeze: Stand or sit up straight with arms hanging by your sides, slightly bend your elbows and pull your shoulder blades together. Hold them together for 5 seconds. Repeat this 5 times. You should feel a mild stretch along your chest and front you’re your shoulders with a burning sensation between your shoulder blades. Aim to do this exercise 5 times per day.
- Chin tuck: Looking forward and without tilting your head try to pull your head straight back about 1 inch. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3 times. You will know you’re doing it right if you feel like you’re creating a temporary double chin. This can be done while driving, sitting or walking so there are no excuses- aim to do 5 times per day.
- Pelvic tilt: Having a strong core and allowing your back muscles and hips to help support your spine is essential for good posture as well as maintaining a pain free and strong low back. Sitting or standing up straight, relax your spine letting your butt stick out slightly. Put your hands in an “L” shape. Put your thumbs at your lower ribs and your fingers at the front of your hip bones. Now draw your hips forward so they are aligned with your ribs and tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold this for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times. This should also be done 5 times per day.
Most of these exercises can easily be done while driving, walking, sitting during your workday and even working out at the gym. No time is a bad time for good posture. Before you know it you will be walking tall and noticing the positive change in how you feel about yourself and how people are responding to you.
Although we spent most of our time together focused on improving static posture, I will leave you with this chestnut. Human beings were not meant to be static, idle beings. By nature we are designed to be hunters and gatherers; to move, dance and explore the world. Keep your body and mind in a constant state of progress and motion and you will likely find that your body is grateful to you for it.
(This is a follow up to the article titled Attention Ladies: Roll Those Shoulders Back and Stand Up Straight! from November 6, 2012. Both articles were written by ProActive Chiropractic’s intern, Lisa Viapiano who can be seen purposefully slouching in the photo above. Lisa graduates from Palmer West College of Chiropractic in this Friday! Congrats, soon-to-be Dr. Lisa!)
These are great tools to help with your posture.
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