Everybody knows that poor posture can contribute to physical pain. It can also negatively affect your appearance – it can make you look older, less fit and less attractive.
As we discussed in a recent blog post, posture also plays an important role in how people make assessments about you and your personality. Posture can be the difference between being seen as weak or powerful, timid or confident, and desirable or not.
But aside from the messages your posture sends to other people, have you ever stopped to think about what messages your posture is sending to you? Yes, your posture can have a direct impact on how you feel about yourself and your internal dialogue. It can literally make you feel bad.
Research over the past ten or so years is consistently demonstrating that tweaking your posture can actually change your emotions. In her TED talk, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy, explains how if you adopt the body language of looking powerful and confident, you will actually feel more powerful and confident – and it even influences your hormones.
When investigating the question of whether or not our bodies influence our minds, Cuddy discovered that changing posture has an impact on two key hormones: testosterone, which is the dominance hormone, and cortisol, which is the stress hormone. So by changing our posture, Cuddy found that is possible both to make ourselves feel more powerful as testosterone levels increased, AND so called ‘power postures’ also reduced cortisol levels, meaning that people were better able to react and respond to stress.
Straighten up and lift that self-belief
These findings are supported by other research also. A study at Ohio State University found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts that they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job. Study co-author Richard Petty, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, said that, “People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don’t realise their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they are thinking.”
Another study suggested that an upright posture can also boost your ability to recall positive thoughts and have a stronger self-image.
See what not slumping can do for your mood
Researchers in New Zealand strapped 74 people into assigned postures with tape, and measured blood pressure and heart rates as they completed a series of tasks designed to assess their mood, self-esteem and stress levels. According to the study authors, upright participants reported feeling more enthusiastic, excited and strong, while slumped participants reported feeling fearful, hostile, nervous, quiet, passive, dull, sleepy and sluggish.
At Spine and Health, we see the evidence every day of the difference good posture can make to quality of life. Improving your posture reduces pain and helps to prevent unnecessary injuries. It helps you to look, move and live better. And now, a growing body of evidence is demonstrating that good posture can help you to be happier and more confident too.
We’d love to chat about how we can help you to improve your posture and see how much better your life can be. Give us a call today to book an appointment with a chiroprator in our North Sydney or Crows Nest clinics.